In April, Michael Shay — a longtime leader of cleanup efforts on the Key — informed SNL that Sarasota County had received a grant to help staff encourage people not to litter the beaches with cigarette butts. The county recently issued a news release about that initiative, which, it turns out, is focused on Siesta Key.
Keep Sarasota County Beautiful received $5,000 in the form of a 2017 Cigarette Litter Prevention Program Grant from the national nonprofit Keep America Beautiful “to combat cigarette litter in our community,” the release says.
“Staff of Keep Sarasota County Beautiful and the county's Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources Department partnered to apply for the grant to purchase and install ash receptacles in an effort to reduce cigarette litter along Siesta Beach and Turtle Beach,” the release explains. “Nearly 40 receptacles will be installed throughout the public access areas along the beaches over the summer months,” it notes.
Keep Sarasota County Beautiful is one of 37 organizations to receive the grant funding for 2017, which totaled $297,500, the release adds. Now in its 15th year, the Cigarette Litter Prevention Program “is the nation's largest aimed at reducing cigarette litter,” the release points out.
Communities that implemented the Cigarette Litter Prevention Program in 2016 realized an average reduction of 60% in cigarette litter, an 8% increase over the 2015 results, the release notes.
"We are honored to be one of the 37 organizations selected to receive grant funding for the 2017 Cigarette Litter Prevention Program," said Keep Sarasota County Beautiful's Program Coordinator Wendi Crisp in the release. "Our hope is that the installation of ash receptacles in high use areas at Siesta Beach and Turtle Beach will help make a tremendous impact in the number of cigarette butts that are disposed of properly and not found as litter."
“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,” the release continues. “Survey results also demonstrate that as communities continue to implement and monitor the program those reductions are sustained or even increased over time,” it adds.