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"Hold on to your Butt" campaign pushes for cleaner lakefront

Posted at 6:17 PM, Oct 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-15 19:18:50-04

MILWAUKEE — The name may sound silly, but the message behind the "Hold on to your Butt" campaign is very serious.

Tuesday, the initiative kicked off, urging beachgoers to use trash bins and their new cigarette receptacles. Dozens of volunteers took gloves and buckets to the beach for a 30-minute trash pickup before a 1 p.m. press conference.

528 cigarettes were collected in that time.

“A lot of Styrofoam is what we’re finding. Plastic. Glass. Things that really can’t be broken down,” said Terrica Kincy, a volunteer at Tuesday’s pickup.

Over the course of ten years, volunteers have picked up more than 39,000 smoking-related items at Milwaukee beaches. None of which are biodegradable, according to the Alliance for Great Lakes.

39,558 smoking related items were collected, translating to nearly 1,500 packs of cigarettes.

"It's something to think about now. I definitely appreciate the people that came behind me to pick it up," said Shawn Stembridge, who was shocked by the numbers.

Ryan Wickens kite surfs often at Bradford Beach. He said he doesn’t see too many cigarettes in the water, but often sees plastic. He said he's happy the issue is being taken seriously.

"It's just disappointing that our kids' generation are gonna be the ones cleaning up our mess," he said.

Receptacles will be placed at Milwaukee area beaches and partners locations.