AMBLER -- Downtown Ambler, the SEPTA train station, and several parks will look and feel a lot cleaner after volunteers from the local area join the Ambler Environmental Advisory Council in a Cigarette Butt Clean Up on Saturday, Sept. 26, from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.
Singles, couples, families and youth are invited to just show up at Knight Park near 38 Church St. in Ambler to register and to receive collection bags and gloves. Wearing a mask and social distancing are requested especially during check-in.
“Ambler is a walkable town, making it convenient to start at Knight Park and fan out to parks and streets in the borough,” said Ambler EAC coordinator Nancy Roecker Coates.
A study of litter along Pennsylvania roadways in 2019 found more than 96 million cigarette butts that had been carelessly tossed from passing vehicles. At the 2019 Litter Summit hosted in Harrisburg, it was reported that cigarette butts were the largest category by number of litter in the study, comprising 37.1 percent of the total. Former EAC chair Susan Curry asked, “Have car manufacturers stopped making ashtrays in their cars?”
Cigarette butts are toxic plastic pollution. According to National Geographic: “The filters are made of a plastic called cellulose acetate. When tossed into the environment, they dump not only that plastic, but also the nicotine, heavy metals, and many other chemicals they’ve absorbed into the surrounding environment.”
The first Ambler Cigarette Butt Clean Up was organized last October. Coates reported that in two hours twelve volunteers picked up and removed 2,279 cigarette butts along E. Butler Pike. “That is equivalent to 228 packs of cigarettes,” she said. “We hope customers and staff who smoke will personally be more responsible with their butts and take pride in keeping Ambler beautiful.”