If you're still addicted to cigarettes but you're within easy reach of a place to dispose of that nasty stub, there's a good chance you're in Ocean Beach.
Since launching the “Hold On To Your Butt” campaign in 2007, Surfrider Foundation has installed roughly 150 ashcans outside apartment buildings, bars, restaurants, and other businesses throughout San Diego County. Of that total, nearly one in five are stationed in Ocean Beach, said Dukes Wooters, coordinator of the Hold On To Your Butt campaign.
"That really is an amazing feat, compared to the rest of San Diego County,” Wooters said at a recent Ocean Beach Town Council meeting. Surfrider installs ashcans at a subsidized rate of $125 or $150, depending on size. The person/business that buys an ashcan also gets a key to empty it from the bottom. (Property owners may request ashcans at Surfrider's website.).
Once installed, cigarette litter in the area decreases by 65 percent, Surfrider says. Cigarette butts are one of the most pervasive and foulest components of the litter stream; every year, nearly 5 trillion cigarette butts are improperly discarded worldwide, Surfrider says. They leach toxins when wet and take up to 25 years to decompose.
Though the community has embraced the ashcans in a big way, there's no reason for Obecians to get all uppity about it: a recent Surfrider-sponsored beach cleanup along Sunset Cliffs yielded roughly 6000 cigarette butts, Wooters said.