Maurie and I have been Seattle Aquarium members for several years now. A few weeks (a month??) ago we got an e-mail announcing a beach cleanup as part of the International Coastal Cleanup day. The cleanup was being held at Alki beach, just a block away from the house. We’d been wanting to participate in an organized cleanup, and we often hold our own impromptu cleanup when ever we go for a walk on the beach. So, we reported to the Alki Tully’s coffee at 10:00 am yesterday to check in.
Little did we know that this was a bigger deal than a simple Aquarium Sponsored event. Jack FM 96.5 was on-hand signing folks in for a raffle to win tickets to October’s Journey/Foreigner concert in Seattle. Seal Sitters was there with their info tent. Alaskan Brewing Company was there as the main organizer of the event talking about Coastal Code (Clean Oceans Depend on Everyone), a website and project that they have launched. They made sure to let everyone (of age, that is) know that 1% of all sales of Alaskan IPA go to the Coastal Code effort (as if folks need a reason to buy and drink their beer).
We signed in and got our buckets and headed down to the beach.
We certainly noticed the number of people out there. It was BIG. Everywhere we looked there were people with buckets and plastic bags collecting trash from the beach. We also saw a lot of families out there. That was really heartening to see. I wonder (now, of course, when I can’t ask some of the parents) whose idea it was to come down to the cleanup: the kids or parents?
The most prominent thing we found were cigarette butts. We were asked to tally certain things as we picked them up. Things like cigarette butts, food wrappers, syringes, toys, etc. Well, we found 245 butts in the two and half hours we were walking the beach…and we were working some areas that four or five people had already gone through! Maurie found lots of chewing gum. The most distressing thing I found was a used insulin syringe. Luckily, I saw it before finding the business end of it. I quickly started to use a stick to break up debris piles for trash after that!
I wish I had asked how many turned out. I think we made a good dent in the beach there. We did note that the beach was cleaner than it has been in a while, even before we started the cleanup.
Personally, and I think I can speak for Maurie on this one too, I’d love to see more of these happening along our beaches. Regular days when folks can gather with some buckets and gloves and walk the beaches gathering up all the waste that is dropped by beach-goers and what drifts in from boaters.
I leave you with some photos: