The nTelos Pavilion was selected for the Keep America Beautiful Cigarette Litter Prevention Program grant in the City of Portsmouth. This is a beautiful amphitheater on the Portsmouth waterfront. The site had some ashtrays, but definitely needed more. The first concert after the project launch was Rob Zombie on June 5th. There were 633 cigarette butts counted at that concert. We noted the paths that people walked to determine where the new ashtrays would go for the next concert.
On Tuesday, June 16th, with new ashtrays in place, signs put up and a table filled with personal and automobile ashtrays to give away, the record breaking heat didn’t deter us from our mission of reminding patrons enjoying the Huey Lewis and the News concert that Cigarette Butts = Litter.
Many approached the table and picked up a personal ashtray for a spouse, friend or a family member. Most of the people that picked up an ashtray were seated in the lawn seat section. That’s the grassy area where most of the cigarette butts were located during the first concert count. We added one new smoking outpost to the lawn section for this concert and were happily surprised at how many people used it!
We were not judgmental when handing out the ashtrays, nor did we encourage people to quit smoking. We simply provided smokers with an alternative to tossing the butts on the ground. WVEC Channel 13 News interviewed us and we were able to promote our mission even though the story was about the extreme heat.
The cigarette litter prevention program was very well received at the nTelos Pavilion. We counted only 257 cigarette butts on the ground after the launch of the cigarette litter prevention program. A thunderstorm appeared at the end of the concert making for a quick exit for some of the patrons. If the storm hadn’t occurred, there is the possibility that there may have been a few more cigarette butts on the ground, but I’m an optimist. I believe that folks were given the right tools and that allowed them to do the right thing: Less Cigarette Butts on the ground = a cleaner nTelos Pavilion.
Join the conversation by posting on social media using #NoCigaretteLitterNow or learn more about the askHRgreen.org regional Cigarette Litter Prevent Program now.
This blog submitted by Donna Corbus, City of Portsmouth Recycling Manager and Executive Director of Keep Portsmouth Beautiful.