Maui’s Jan. 12 cigarette cleanup was a huge success. Maui District Student Council Organization and the Surfrider Foundation Maui Chapter teamed-up and collected more than 14,000 cigarette butts in less than two hours.
Students and local leaders from across the island picked up butts at Hana Bay, Baldwin Beach, Kahului Harbor, Waiehu, Olowalu, Canoe Beach and Sugar Beach in Maui. Malaman Maui Nui, Sustainable Coastlines and the Hawaii Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawaii pitched in to help organize the cleanups and follow-up actions.
The following day, students and members of the groups gathered at the county administration building to present their findings to the public and the County Council. Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa recognized their efforts and declared the day to be “Butts Off Our Beaches Day.”
The Maui Surfrider Chapter will be continue to work with groups on Maui and across the state in an effort to pass legislation to create smoke-free beaches. The Hawaii (island) County Council launched a smoking ban at the Big Island’s beaches and parks in 2012 and the Oahu Chapter helped pass a Smoke-Free Beaches & Parks bill in 2013. The Maui Chapter is hoping the Valley Isle follows the lead with the “Hold On To Your Butts Campaign,” designed to reduce the amount of second-hand smoke and toxic litter on the beaches–noting that cigarettes are the most littered items here and around the world.
Building on the momentum of Oahu and the Big Island, Rep. Kaniela Ing from South Maui has sponsored a bill to ban smoking on all beaches of Hawaii. If the bill–HB 325–passes, Hawaii would become the first state in the nation to ban smoking on all of its beaches. The first hearing for the bill was scheduled for Jan. 22.