SIMCOE, JULY 28, 2011 – Members of the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit’s volunteer youth group, HEAT, will be hosting a beach party in Port Dover on Friday, August 5th to raise awareness about the impact of tobacco on our local beaches.
The free event, entitled ‘Turn up the Heat for Smoke Free Beaches’, will see beach volleyball, limbo contests, Frisbee games and other fun activities happening on the beach across from Callahan’s Beach House from 1 to 4 p.m. An information tent and photo booth will also be set up to help the young people share their message. Beachgoers will also be polled to determine how much public support exists for smoke-free beaches in Norfolk County.
“We hope that one day families will be able to come and enjoy the beach without having to worry about second-hand smoke or their small children digging up cigarette butts in the sand,” said Naomi Friesen, a youth volunteer with HEAT.
Members of HEAT, which stands for Health Education and Advocacy Team, are concerned about tobacco on our local beaches for three main reasons: the harmful effects of second-hand smoke, the risk of small children digging up cigarette butts and placing them in their mouths, and the negative environmental consequences of littered butts on the beaches.
People often assume that since cigarette filters are so small and have a paper wrapping, they are biodegradable and relatively harmless. However, that is not the case at all. Cigarette filters are made of cellulose acetate, a plastic that can take more than 12 years to break down, and in the process releases the harmful mixture of chemicals trapped inside.
In national and international coastal cleanups, as well as city street cleanups, cigarette butts routinely top the list of the most common litter items collected.
The group is looking to recruit more youth volunteers for the upcoming school year. Anyone interested in getting involved with HEAT, or finding out more information about the ‘Turn up the Heat for Smoke Free Beaches’ event, can email [email protected] or call the Health Unit at 519-426-6170 ext. 3276.
Youth Engagement Coordinator
Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit
Ext. 3276 at either 519-426-6170 or 905-318-6623