Tahoe trashed: 7,738 cigarette butts cleaned from beaches after July 4
Each year, Lake Tahoe and Truckee area beaches see a lot of trash left behind from people who celebrate the Fourth of July at them. The below story from the League to Save Lake Tahoe recaps one effort at nine regional beaches, but does not encompass other cleanup efforts organized this week by various groups and residents.
By the numbers
This is the 3rd annual year the League to Save Lake Tahoe has coordinated a July 5 clean-up at lake-wide beaches. Below is a tally of trash and butts collected the past three years:
2016: 1,596 pounds of trash, 7,738 butts
2015: 1,600 pounds, 4,053 butts
*2014: 2,300 pounds, 3,000 butts
Source: League to Save Lake Tahoe. *In the 2014 clean-up, crews focused on six beaches, instead of nine.
LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Following a lively Fourth of July weekend, 330 community members and visitors gathered at nine beaches around Lake Tahoe to remove litter left behind on the Lake’s shoreline.
It was the third consecutive year the effort was organized by the League to Save Lake Tahoe.
“Community beach cleanups like these are a great way to educate people about ways they can help Keep Tahoe Blue,” said Marilee Movius, the League’s communication engagement manager. “We are excited to be collaborating with Tahoe’s land managers and business community to find solutions to help protect our shoreline.”
Known around the world for its deep, blue water, the alpine lake hosts several of America’s best known Independence Day celebrations. As the visitor population in the Lake Tahoe Basin inches toward the hundreds of thousands, the crowds can leave a toll on the lake’s fragile shores.
In what’s become a traditional day of giving back to Lake Tahoe, volunteers showed up early at cleanup sites around the lake to pitch in at the League’s largest beach cleanup event of the year.
Participants cleaned 4.5 miles of shoreline along nine of Tahoe’s beaches: Kiva/Taylor Beach, Tallac Historic Site, Regan Beach, El Dorado Beach, Timber Cove, Nevada Beach, Zephyr Shoals, Kings Beach, and Commons Beach (Tahoe City).
Together, they removed 1,596 pounds of trash, including 7,738 cigarette butts. The other most commonly found trash item was single use plastics, such as straws, plastic bottle caps and bottles.
“We are continuing to collect data on the trash we can collect to inform our advocacy to support solutions,” said Jesse Patterson, the League’s deputy director. “For example, in the last two years, we have identified hot spots where cigarette butt litter is a major problem. We will be partnering with local business leaders to install cigarette butt canisters at key locations around the Basin.”
This year’s cleanup was possible because of the engagement of partners, including the U.S. Forest Service, Tahoe City Public Utility District, California State Parks, California Land Management, the city of South Lake Tahoe and Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority.
The League is also grateful to have the support of this year’s cleanup sponsors: Bakpocket Products, Lake Tahoe Humane Society, Lake Tahoe KOA, Montbleu Resort Casino & Spa, Tahoe City Kayak and Northstar California Resort.
“We are grateful to every volunteer who made today’s cleanup possible. Also, without the deep involvement of our partners and sponsors, we would not have the ability to stage cleanups for so much of Lake Tahoe’s shoreline,” said Movius. “From the land managers who are so effective at taking care of our public lands to the businesses who sent staff and provided funds for cleanup supplies, their engagement shows the depth of the community’s commitment to Lake Tahoe’s wellbeing.”
This article was provided by the League to Save Lake Tahoe — known by the slogan “Keep Tahoe Blue.” Visit keeptahoeblue.org to learn more.
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“The issue is the definition of ‘recycling,’” said Jeanette Tillman, the sustainability manager for South Tahoe Refuse and Recycling. “(Recycling) doesn’t always equate to recycled.