By Tameka Kenan-Norman, City of Rocky Mount NC
Keep America Beautiful (KAB), the national nonprofit that envisions a country where every community is a clean, green and beautiful place to live, recently announced that KAB of Nash and Edgecombe counties will receive a 2016 Cigarette Litter Prevention Program Grant.
The purpose of the grant is to combat cigarette litter in the city of Rocky Mount, North Carolina, and throughout the two counties. Specifically, KAB of Nash & Edgecombe counties will target cigarette butt litter at Tar River Transit bus stops in Rocky Mount and downtown Tarboro through a concentrated and sustained effort.
KAB of Nash and Edgecombe counties is one of 42 organizations to receive grant funding for 2016, totaling $240,000, through the 2016 Cigarette Litter Prevention Program. The Cigarette Litter Prevention Program, now in its 14th year, is the nation’s largest program aimed at reducing cigarette litter. Communities that implemented the Cigarette Litter Prevention Program in 2015 realized an average 52 percent reduction in cigarette litter.
“The Cigarette Litter Prevention Program has been proven effective,” said Cornelia McGee, KAB coordinator. Simple actions like installing ash receptacles and distributing pocket ashtrays have made a big difference in decreasing litter and ultimately keeping communities beautiful. By raising awareness, we expect similar reductions here in the Twin County area.”
KAB affiliates, local governments, business improvement districts, downtown associations, parks and recreation areas and other organizations dedicated to ending litter and beautifying communities are receiving grants. Since the establishment of the national initiative, communities in 49 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Canada have implemented the Cigarette Litter Prevention Program to reduce cigarette litter.
“One of Keep America Beautiful’s primary goals is to end littering in America,” said KAB President and CEO Jennifer Jehn. “The Cigarette Litter Prevention Program pursues a multi-faceted behavior-change strategy to combat, and ultimately eliminate, the leading form of litter in America. We applaud our grant recipients for making such significant progress, helping to fulfill our vision of a country where every community is a clean, green and beautiful place to live.”
Since its establishment, the Cigarette Litter Prevention Program has consistently cut cigarette butt litter by approximately half based on local measurements taken in the first four months to six months after program implementation. Survey results also demonstrate that as communities continue to implement and monitor the program, those reductions are sustained or even increased over time. KAB has distributed nearly $3 million in grant funding since 2006 to support local implementation of the program in more than 1,500 communities.
Grants provided by KAB through the Cigarette Litter Prevention Program fund implementations across the country in a variety of community settings including downtowns, roadways, beaches, parks, marinas, colleges/universities, tourist locations, and at special event locations.
Tobacco products, consisting mainly of cigarette butts, are the most littered item in America, representing nearly 38 percent of all items littered, according to “Litter in America,” KAB’s landmark study of litter and littering behavior. Research has shown that even self-reported non-litterers often don’t consider tossing cigarette butts on the ground to be littering. KAB has found that cigarette butt litter occurs most often at transition points, or areas where a person must stop smoking before proceeding into another area. These include bus stops, entrances to stores and public buildings, and the sidewalk areas outside of bars and restaurants, among others.
The “Guide to Cigarette Litter Prevention” provides information about starting and maintaining a Cigarette Litter Prevention Program in any community, and can be found online at PreventCigaretteLitter.org. View the Cigarette Litter Prevention Program PSA video on KAB’s YouTube channel.
The Cigarette Litter Prevention Program is supported by funding from Philip Morris USA, an Altria company; RAI Services Company and the Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company.
At Keep America Beautiful, we want to ensure that beauty is our lasting signature. A leading national nonprofit, Keep America Beautiful inspires and educates people to take action every day to improve and beautify their community environment. We envision a country where every community is a clean, green and beautiful place to live. Established in 1953, Keep America Beautiful provides the expertise, programs and resources to help people end littering in America, improve recycling in America and beautify America’s communities. The organization is driven by the work and passion of more than 600 community-based Keep America Beautiful affiliates, millions of volunteers, and the support of corporate partners, municipalities, elected officials and individuals.
To learn how you can donate or take action, visit kab.org. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, like us on Facebook or view us on YouTube.
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