Berkeley officials are asking residents and visitors to help keep the city free of toxic tobacco waste. Anyone can play a role – from proper disposal of your waste and using free resources to help you quit if you still smoke, or volunteering at local cleanups if you don’t.
This environmental impact of tobacco waste is often not recognized. The most common toxic waste found in cleanings – cigarette filters – are mostly made from non-biodegradable plastic. Filters contain toxic chemicals that pollute the environment and can be toxic when ingested by children and wildlife, but they are the number one item found on our beaches and roads.
A tobacco waste audit conducted by the city’s Smoking Prevention Program points out that smoking not only poses risks to your health, but is also toxic and harmful to our environment. The audit found more than 5,000 cigarette butts, empty cigarette packs, JUUL pods and other tobacco-related items from sites in Berkeley. On average, 216 pieces were collected per site, although several sites contained too much tobacco waste to be collected within the allotted time. We can all take simple steps to reduce the significant environmental impacts of tobacco waste. Help keep Berkeley clean with these steps:
- Join local efforts to clean up waste tobacco and other plastics. Volunteer with the Ecology Center or Save the Bay, an organization that has worked to protect, restore and celebrate San Francisco Bay since 1961.
- Dispose of tobacco products properly. Our audit found that there were cigarette containers and garbage cans available at eight of the ten sites, but that they still had tobacco litter. If you use tobacco products, don’t throw cigarette ends out on the street. Always dispose of waste properly and do not use tobacco products in areas where second-hand smoke is prohibited.
- If you smoke, consider quitting. Avoid creating toxic tobacco waste in the first place. The City of Berkeley’s Smoking Prevention Program regularly hosts free smoking cessation classes for anyone 18 years of age or older who is ready to quit nicotine products. For more information, email [email protected] or call 510-981-5330.
– city of Berkeley
ALBANY / BERKELEY
Join Friends of Five Creeks for nature walks this weekend
The Earth Week walks with the Friends of the Five Creeks (F5C) have proven to be so popular that the group is doing two more this month. F5C keeps groups small for more time to discuss, observe and learn. From 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, experience nature and history as you stroll through Cerrito Creek and climb Albany Hill with three experts: Karen Sorensen, local historian and author of the recent “Albany: Stories from the Village Near.” of the Bay ”and“ Images of America: Albany; Margot Cunningham, Albany Natural Areas Manager and longtime Albany Hill Volunteer Delegate; and F5C President Susan Schwartz. For more details and to register, visit bayareane.ws/3y9DYjx online.
Then, from 10 a.m. to noon on Sundays, try out free nature-focused cell phone apps on a walk along Codornices Creek. Discover smartphone apps that help you identify what you see and hear while contributing to science. Along the way, enjoy thriving native plantations and learn about the progress being made in revitalizing our region’s only trout stream. Max Coyle, F5C board member, and President Schwartz will lead. For more details and to register, visit bayareane.ws/3obLfLg online.
The city and the BART organize a meeting on the development of the station
At 6 p.m. this next Tuesday, the city of El Cerrito and BART will co-host a community meeting with the team of developers selected for the Cerrito Plaza station.
All are invited to join this introductory meeting; Similar to a presentation on May 4, this will be an opportunity to learn more about the city’s and BART’s goals for this potential project and to meet the team of developers. The meeting will be held online via Zoom at us02web.zoom.us/j/84342090452.
These events are the first of many opportunities provided for community residents and other interested persons to ask questions and share feedback with the project team. BART is committed to listening to the concerns of the larger community of El Cerrito, the transportation agency is moving forward with advancing the development of the El Cerrito Plaza BART property in 2021. Over the next two to three years, the developer and BART will work with El Cerrito, which will include opportunities for community engagement, to create a concept for development. Before the developer can finalize their proposal, BART and the City of El Cerrito will need to make decisions on the amount of replacement parking for BART customers and whether to include a new library in the project.
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