Isla Vista Surfrider accepts no buts about cigarettes littering the beaches of I.V., and its latest effort is aimed at leaving cliff side smokers no excuse for tossing theirs over the edge.
Surfrider, an environmental activist organization that works to protect local beaches, distributed 75 ashtrays to the residents of the 6500 block of Del Playa Drive on Saturday to reduce the number of cigarette butts that smokers throw into the storm drains or off of the DP cliffs.
Mathis Riley, co-chair of I.V. Surfrider, said members of the group used old paint cans donated by the UCSB campus painters to make the ashtrays in order to keep costs of the project low. The cans, which would otherwise have been thrown away and could have caused further damage to the environment, were spray-painted with the Surfrider logo and filled with sand to create the ashtrays.
Riley said the effort was a cheap and environmentally friendly way to reduce the number of cigarette butts that make their way to the beach.
“The plan is easy, and it makes a difference,” Riley said. “The only cost was the sand and spray paint.”
Although the ashtrays were only given out to a limited number of DP residents, Riley said Surfrider plans to extend the project to all of I.V.
However, not everyone who received one of the ashtrays said they shared Riley’s high expectations for the program.
Isaiah Ornelas, a senior art history major whose house received one of the cans, said he has doubts that giving out ashtrays will make everyone start disposing of their cigarette butts properly.
“The principle makes sense, but it can’t solve the problem,” Ornelas said.
Scott Haydon, a senior psychology major, said the cigarette butt problem is mainly a result of smoking at parties on DP, and is not necessarily the fault of the residents who live there.
“The ashtrays are great for residents, but too small to be visible during parties,” Hayden said.
Laila Borgman-Brouwer, an undeclared freshman, said the problem is not a lack of available ashtrays, but the carelessness of some smokers.
“People throw their butts on the street even if there is an ashtray,” she said.