VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Cigarette butts have been identified as a problem in Virginia Beach, and now the city is taking action to combat the issue.
“Most people don’t put cigarettes into a container if it’s not readily right there,”said Parks and Recreation Environmental Program Specialist Michael Moore, who works for the City of Virginia Beach.
He said they have been analyzed high smoking areas in the city.
To combat the issue, you will see cigarette containers, donated by Surfrider, going up in 27 locations around the city.
Moore said cigarette butts cause problems.
“We’re not criticizing anybody for smoking; it’s a choice. We’re just providing you an opportunity to dispose of a cigarette or cigar appropriately,” said Moore.
He said cigarettes get into the waterways and cause fires and mentioned that a lot of taxpayer dollars are used to maintain and clean the waterways. He said the butts harm the wildlife and marine life.
In May, a News 3 investigation looked at how improperly putting out cigarettes cost the city $4 million in property damage in 2020.
Firefighters said they cause brush fires, house fires and causes lots of damage to businesses – on average about 40 fires per year.
“We identified locations where we know we’re going to target. We literally visually counted all the cigarette butts that you could find on the ground and then we installed them [the containers], and then over a period of year we will do multiple scans to see if it’s making a difference,” said Moore. “It’s a small thing and can make a big difference.”