Hello, do you like ass-grabbing? (You look so reserved — practically British! — but I thought I’d ask.) This Sunday has been set aside as a day to celebrate the groping of the posterior, the fondling of the tush, the — OK, fine, it’s just a gimmick about not littering. San Diego’s chapter of the Surfrider Foundation is hosting the annual Hold Onto Your Butt Awareness Day on Aug. 4. What do cigarette butts have to do with surfing, you ask? Well, wet cigarettes ooze toxins that threaten marine life as well as surfers, and cigs make up almost half of the litter Surfrider volunteers pick up (meaning it’s not just a grimy city problem).

You want some hard numbers, you say? Surfrider’s got the facts:

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

  • Cigarette butts are the most littered item in the world
  • An estimated 4.95 trillion cigarette butts are disposed of in our environment annually worldwide
  • Litter cleanup costs the U.S. over $11 billion annually, and cigarette butts represent an estimated 32 percent of that litter
  • Cigarette butts are composed of cellulose acetate, a non-biodegradable plastic, which can take up to 25 years to decompose

In addition to holding what one can only hope will be signs covered in tasteful illustrations of the tuchus, Surfrider volunteers will be passing out ashtrays and yelling at litterbugs this Sunday. So think twice before you toss your American Spirit on the ground like a disaffected hipster. Instead, find someone you love and ask politely if you may give them a firm squeeze to the buttocks. That has nothing to do with littering but it sounds like fun.

Reader support helps sustain our work. Donate today to keep our climate news free. All donations DOUBLED!