Woman collects more than 40,000 butts off beach; says ban is necessary

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC (WWAY) -- The warmer weather means it's finally beach season, and that means thousands of people will make their way to Wrightsville Beach. As the town prepares for the 2012 tourist season, the Board of Aldermen are also considering a new smoking ban. Locals say they plan to speak out about this ban tonight at a public hearing.

"It doesn't matter if it's freezing cold in December or 90 degrees in July, it's the same thing," said smoking ban supporter Danielle Richardet. "It's always cigarette butts. So I think it's time we start fixing that."

For more than a year, Richardet has been collecting cigarette butts off of Wrightsville Beach. So far, she has collected more than 40,000. She says a smoking ban is necessary for the beach and she hopes it will soon be passed. Richardet says cigarettes are different from other litter, because they trap toxins, causing a much more severe threat to the environment.

"Toxins such as nickel, cadmium, lead and arsenic, those are in the filters," said Richardet. "So as soon as those filters hit water, they begin leeching into our environment. Essentially, it's no longer litter, it's toxic waste and we have that on our beach."

Richardet says if the ban is not passed, the problem will only get worse.

"It's never ending and if it doesn't get passed, I guarantee I will have picked up 50,000," said Richardet. "I will have picked up 100,000."

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here's an idea put ashtrays (you know the tall ones that the stores have) it is a proven fact that if you have them most people will use them...

I don't think that The City of WVB has the authority to enforce such a ban. The Beach is federal land.

FEDERAL LAND PEOPLE !! YOU CAN'T CONTROL THE BEACH! AS MUCH WOULD LIKE. THE BEACH IS NOT YOURS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YOU PEOPLE THAT LIVE ON W/B ARE REALLY SOMETHING ELSE.

I agree that it would be impossible to enforce a law to ban cigarettes on the beach. However, maybe instead of using budget money to hire more authorities to enforce such a law, that budget money could be used to educate our towns people and visitors of the dangers to the environment and wildlife/sealife. Educate and encourage people to be considerate of one of our most beautiful beaches in the area and our environment as a whole! because if they don't, they will be coming here in the future years with their children/grandchildren and it will be trashed! and everyone will be wondering WHAT HAPPENED TO OUR BEAUTIFUL BEACHES!!

did u happen to find the blood worm i lost ,if so,leave it near the inlet to masonboro.

This woman evidently has WAY too much time on her hands. And she counts them?
A better idea would be for these pro-no smoking on the beach folks to obtain those small cigarette butt containers for individuals. Then pass them out to people they see smoking on the beach. I have one and use it! I got mine at the Earth day festival, it's great, closes, fits in your pocket, I empty it when I get home!

Seriously? Too much time on her hands? hello? At least ONE person wants to take care of the environment and take care of YOUR earth too. I'm so tired of people criticizing others. Danielle has NEVER criticized anyone and just wants to make the earth a better and healthier place for EVERYONE to be on. Cigarette butts are just the top of the line, we need to quit littering and pick up after ourselves. How ridiculous. You have time on your hands too, but is anyone gonna criticize you for how you choose your time? Probably not. So quit picking on someone else.

Smokers see the world as their ashtray! It never fails to amaze me to see people with a "COEXIST" bumper sticker fling their butts out the window of their cars, not thinking of the environmental damage they are causing to the world around them! They are selfish, lazy and just stupid (because they're killing themselves at the same time!).

Do you drive a car? If you do you are lazy so walk and cut down on the carbons you are producing. You want everyone to conform to your way of thinking so you are selfish. Your comments are stupid, so I guess I covered all your remarks...liberal nutcase.
You better hope people don't quit smoking because your taxes would go up because of the lost revenue. Don't even try to say you pay for my health care I pay higher premiums for smoking and that was one of the things big tobacco settlement was over for them to pony up money for increased health care costs. So quit whining and as far as COEXIST I don't care to.

Did you seem to forget that not everyone is the same?! I refuse to leave them lying around!!! If i'm in public, I pick them up even if they're not mine, (along with other stuff) and throw it out! I don't go putting blame on a "certain" group, because I know that everyone is different, it would be stupid of me to think otherwise! You must be categorizing people into groups because your lazy, selfish and just plain stupid and want to put the blame on others!

bet u could collect 40.000 soda cans to does that mean we need to quit drinking soda on the beach i pay taxes i have just as much right to enjoy the beach and a cig to

Debra, I assume you would be happy for others to sit in your yard and leave butts all over the place. Perhaps you would be happy to let children pick them up and play with them ,despite the fact someone has been sucking away on them and that they are full of tar . chemicals etc. The same guests would be allowed to leave soda
cans all over your yard as well I guess?
You seem to think that whatever you do is OK and to hell with anyone else?
You speak of rights....but you have ignored the fact that rights come with responsibility !!...
If decent citizens considered others, including the environment, for humans and wildlife alike, the problem would never have arisen.

That is a good idea. Just like anything else, from time to time, just go out there and pick them up.... So what is the problem....

I really think your agenda is the same that WrightsvilleBeach has had for years to try and run off anyone who does not live there by making it hard to come and enjoy it. Just remember that when the next storm comes and you want everyone to pay to renourish YOUR beach. Personally WB could fall into the ocean andd I could not care.

You have too much time on your hands. Let's see boats pollute the water so ban them. Fish crap in the ocean ban them. Birds crap in the ocean ban them. Piers with creosote pilings pollute the ocean ban them. Sewage that leaks from the city sewer system pollutes the ocean, close them down...in other words GET A LIFE. GO HUG A TREE and be happy.

I think you may be missing the point. Danielle is not asking you to quit smoking (although you probably should), she is asking you not to litter the beach. Since that is obviously not going to happen, there has to be consequences. It is against the law to litter but look at any intersection in Wilmington and the road is littered with cigarette butts. It may not be you that is throwing the butts down, but someone is. Danielle is one person who is trying to clean up the environment for the health and enjoyment of all of us. She is not trying to hurt you or anyone else by removing your right to smoke. It is the same thing we do to our children...if they don't pick up their toys, the toys are removed. We are simply trying to teach them responsibility. Be responsible and don't throw your butts down and the issue would be solved. Keep up the good work Danielle.

Seriously? She is choosing to have a life...and for you too...and your children. The ENTIRE world has so much litter everywhere and it needs to stop. Butts are just one part of the problem! She's bringing attention to a VERY major problem we have.