1,600 pounds of trash, 4,053 cigarette butts cleaned from Tahoe beaches | SierraSun.com

1,600 pounds of trash, 4,053 cigarette butts cleaned from Tahoe beaches

Staff report

LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Nearly 300 volunteers stormed Lake Tahoe's beaches Sunday morning to remove trash left behind from Fourth of July festivities as part of an annual volunteer cleanup event put on by the League to Save Lake Tahoe.

League volunteers and staff and partners cleaned more than 4.5 miles of Tahoe's shoreline along nine beaches: Kiva/Taylor Beach, Tallac Historic Site, Regan Beach, El Dorado Beach, Timber Cove, Nevada Beach, Zephyr Shoals, Kings Beach, and Commons Beach in Tahoe City.

"We're thrilled that twice as many people came out for this year's cleanup compared to last year," Marilee Movius, the League's community engagement manager, said in a statement. "Cleanups like these are only possible because of the engagement of our volunteers, our business partners, and the land managers for Tahoe beaches."

In all, volunteers picked up 1,600 pounds of trash, including 5,266 pieces of plastic such as caps, bottles, utensils, and straws. Volunteers also picked up 4,053 cigarette butts.

"These plastics photodegrade and break into small pieces. These can look like food to wildlife and leach chemicals when in the water," said Movius. "It is important to pack out this trash, as it does not leave the environment, and to choose reusables whenever possible to cut back on single use plastics."

This year's cleanup had better results than a year ago in terms of trash, but not cigarette butts.

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According to previous reports, on July 5, 2014, League volunteers and staff collected and sorted nearly 2,300 pounds of debris — including more than 3,000 cigarette butts, 1,200 cans, 800 glass and plastic bottles, and 320 plastic bags.

"In the months ahead, we'll continue conversations with other Tahoe organizations to consider strategies to reduce cigarette litter, including the potential installation of cigarette butt canisters at key locations," Jesse Patterson, the League's deputy director, said in a statement.

Cleanup partners this year included the U.S. Forest Service, Tahoe City Public Utility District, California State Parks, city of South Lake Tahoe, California Conservation Corps, and Soroptimist International of South Lake Tahoe.

This year's cleanup sponsors include Artemis Lakefront Cafe, Ski Run Marina, BakPocket Products, the Vail Corporation's Epic Promise Program (Heavenly, Kirkwood, and Northstar), Lake Tahoe Humane Society, Lighthouse Beach Grill, Tahoe Blue Vodka, and Tahoe City Kayak.

Visit keeptahoeblue.org to learn more about the League to Save Lake Tahoe.