650 volunteers collect nearly 19,000 cigarette butts during Jacksonville beach cleanup
JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Florida. – Nearly 650 volunteers donated two hours of their day to a Saturday morning cleanup in Jacksonville Beach.
According to Beaches Go Green, the organization believes the turnout was a single-event record.
Anne Marie Moquin, founder of Beaches Go Green, said she was delighted with the participation.
“A lot of them came up to me and told me how much fun they had today. It’s something they can do with their friends. It brings the community together. They are outside; they are in nature,” Moquin said.
A total of 84 trash bags – weighing 20 pounds each – were collected, representing a total of $2,616 in waste reduction contributions.
Among the hundreds of volunteers, it was hard to believe anyone could beat Casey Jones and his team.
The team loaded their Jeep with all sorts of items, such as pipes, piles of trash and a giant piece of concrete found behind an abandoned building.
“Jackets, shoes and just bags and buckets of stuff. Hundreds of cigarette butts. My friends and I just went over there and started cleaning everything up. I realized how much we had and said ‘I have to go get my car. We won’t be able to take all of this,” Jones said.
The Tobacco Free Jacksonville organization was also present at the cleanup event. They offered prizes to whoever picked up the most dumped item on the factory – cigarette butts – and nearly 19,000 cigarette butts were collected.
Moquin reminded people that cigarettes contain the harmful plastic, cellulose acetate.
“When they decompose, it can take up to five years, and they release toxic chemicals into water and soil. Like arsenic, lead, nicotine and other things. So picking them up is very important,” Moquin said.
For Jones, participating in this event also means being part of something good and beneficial to the community.
“It’s not really about judging others for what they post. It’s really just to clean up and help make this world a little cleaner in our community as well. Pass by and not see the garbage and not on the sidewalk. It’s a good feeling,” Jones said.
The Beaches Oktoberfest is also hosting a beach cleanup on October 9 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Participants can meet directly behind the Sea Walk pavilion. The first 100 participants to register on the day of will receive a t-shirt or a mug.
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