(February 5, 2016) San Francisco CA
For Immediate Distribution
Contact: David McGuire, Director Shark Stewards
The San Francisco Bay non-profit Shark Stewards announces an alliance to clean up beach debris to save sharks and protect fragile habitat in the San Francisco Bay. The partnership is being announced during Super Bowl 50, with a series of San Francisco Bay Area beach clean ups targeting cigarette butt pollution on city streets entering the San Francisco Bay. Coincidentally, this week the beach clean ups are coinciding with plastic and firework debris washed ashore believed to be associated with the Super Bowl 50 fireworks display last Friday.
Volunteers will be cleaning Aquatic Park Beach Saturday morning following Friday night’s February 5 Macy’s Super Bowl 50 fireworks celebration near the Bay Bridge.
“While the nation is watching the Broncos and the Phantoms kick pigskins, our volunteers will be on the beach kicking butts,” said David McGuire, Director of the Bay Area ocean non-profit Shark Stewards. “We have been focusing on the 3 billion cigarette butts hitting Bay Area streets every year, but now we are also cleaning harmful plastic from the fireworks display from our beaches in the National Marine Heritage Area in the San Francisco Bay.”
“As long term stewards of the Bay, the San Francisco Dolphin Club is a proud partner maintaining the water quality and the health of our beaches in the San Francisco Bay,” said Diane Walton Vice President of the Dolphin Club.
Catalyzed by Shark Stewards to motivate education and protection of Bay Health, the informal group No Butts in the Bay Coalition consists of volunteers from the Dolphin Club, Shark Stewards, the San Francisco Aquarium of the Bay, Surfrider Foundation, The City of San Francisco, National Parks and other NGOs.
Following the Super Bowl 50 fireworks display Saturday evening January 30, the National Parks Service and volunteers picked up enough plastic and spent casings to fill several trash containers at Aquatic Park in the San Francisco Bay, according to a National Parks spokesperson.
It is estimated 4.5 trillion cigarette butts are littered each year worldwide. Cigarette filters trap chemicals and when submerged in water the chemicals leach into ecosystems, threatening the quality water and aquatic life. The City and County of San Francisco estimates the costs of cigarette butt cleanups at $6 million annually.
“Typically over half the items we clean up on the beach are discarded cigarette butts, now added to this we have plastic caps and singed wrappings from fireworks. It is insult to injury,” said McGuire. “Hopefully we wont see a repeat performance from last week. But we will still be kicking butts during the Super Bowl 50.”
About Shark Stewards
Shark Stewards is at the forefront of the local and global movement to save sharks, ban the shark fin trade, stop illegal shark finning and establish shark sanctuaries. They lead efforts to educate and establish marine protected areas and ban the shark fin trade in North America, and are expanding across the Pacific into Asia with a Pacific Shark Alliance. Their healthy oceans initiative focuses on marine debris and the health of the San Francisco Bay, focusing on cigarette butt waste reduction in the City of San Francisco
Shark Stewards is a project of The Earth Island Institute, an environmentalist think tank and is a 501c3 non-profit. Shark Stewards is dedicated to conserving our oceans through the protection of sharks.