Susan Watson takes on cigarette butt litter on Wasaga Beach

I have lived in Wasaga Beach for 40 years now, but often came from Barrie to visit my grandfather prior to moving here. Sue Watson

I got the sand between my toes at a young age, and have loved the beach ever since. In the picture below - that's me on the right at 3 years old. A beach baby for sure. I spent most of my 20's and 30's working evening shifts, so my days were always spent at the beach. I still spend as much time as I can at the beach, mostly to enjoy our spectacular sunsets.

Sue Watson

While white water rafting in Ottawa in my early 20's, we were told to bring back everything we took out with us, especially cigarette butts. This is where I learned they were not bio-degradable, and very toxic.

Being a non-smoker coming from a family of heavy smokers, this thought haunted me. While suntanning, I would watch people butt out cigarettes in the sand, and would cringe. I was most concerned when I would see small children playing in the sand, right where the cigarette butts were. I felt helpless, but have always been interested in the subject. I learned that Hawaii had been fining people for littering their beaches with cigarette butts, and wondered what we could do about it.

Wasaga Beach

I happened to see a video on Facebook from Terra Cycle, on Cigarette Butt Recycling. That got my heart pumping again! Recycle them, a win, win situation! I phoned Terra Cycle for information, and I was asked if I was involved with Brian Nabuurs from our area. They suggested we team up.

We have 8 receptacles in place at Beach 5 that I empty and send the butts to Terra Cycle. In return, we receive a dollar per pound, that will go back into the Friends of Nancy Island and Wasaga Beach charity fund. Look below for information on what you can do to help keep beaches butt free.

**** A HUGE thank you from Georgian Bay Forever to all the volunteers like Susan and Brian who work to protect the water of Georgian Bay.

BUTT is there more I can do?

Thanks for caring! Your beaches from Wasaga Beach to the world, need to be cigarette BUTT-FREE. Here are some ways you can help beaches:

The Butt Free Beach Program in Wasaga

In the summer of 2017, volunteers Sue Watson and Brian Nabuurs removed over 490 grams of cigarette butts from Wasaga Beach 5. Butt Free

Environment Network counted over 9000 cigarette butts removed from beach shorelines in the general area that includes Sue's count as well as collections from Beach clean-ups including a focused clean up last year on Healthy Parks, Healthy People Day. Sue and Brian's last year's efforts were supported by a 2017 BUTT FREE beach campaign that was initiated by the Lake Huron Centre for Coastal Conservation, (aka The Coastal Centre) with the local program for Wasaga Provincial Beach Area 5 getting support and help from the Environment Network, Environmental Defence, and Georgian Bay Forever.

In 2018, Georgian Bay Forever continues to work with the Park and volunteers Susan and Brian to help spread and educate about cigarette butt litter on shorelines due to concerns for the water and aquatic life. Butts are also made with microplastic or microfibres.