The Mermaid of Hilton Head is bringing awareness to beach trash — via a sea turtle made out of cigarettes named "Smokey".
The turtle is made of 1,200 cigarette butts picked up on Hilton Head Island during beach clean-ups last summer, says a Facebook post from the mermaid (Nina Leipold). More than 9,000 cigarette butts were picked up overall.
"Smokey is a reminder that we need to be aware of what we do with our trash," the post says. "The beach is not a trash can. Please pick up after yourself (and others!)"
Island Life HHI received a flurry of comments when it shared a picture of the turtle on its Facebook page.
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"That's just nasty! No one wants to see that on our beaches. Pickup after yourself people," one person posted.
Another person said, "Disgusting, but super creative."
Leipold has written children books about protecting the coastal environment in recent years. Through her role as a "mermaid", Leipold collaborates with boat tours to teach children about the environment.