Fort Myers Beach pushes to put out cigarette butts
First plastic straws. Then, plastic bags. Now, cigarette butts.
The Marine Resources Task Force held a meeting Wednesday to discuss placing a ban on cigarette butts on Fort Myers Beach, in an effort to help keep the beach clean.
“There are some people who treat the beach like an ashtray,” Marine Resources Task Force chairman Bill Veach said.
Town Council members voted Nov. 6 to impose a plastic straw ban. The fines range from $100 to $500 per straw.
The Marine Resources Task Force also attempted to limit the use of plastic bags on Fort Myers Beach.
But the same pre-emptive state laws that stopped the beach from moving forward with banning plastic bags on the beach has blocked a ban on cigarette butts too.
“There is a state law that pre-empts municipal governments from enacting bans, restrictions on plastic bags and Styrofoam among numerous other things,” Veach said. “The pre-emptive laws include you can’t ban smoking on the beach.”
Cigarettes are the most littered item worldwide, according to Beachapedia. More than 4.5 trillion are littered each year.
“I think the county should have the right to place bans on plastic products or anything harming the environment,” Boca Raton resident Dennis Kerr said.
For now, the Marine Resources Task Force is looking for ways to clean up the beaches without a ban.