West Seattle 4th of July aftermath: How you can help

(UPDATED with pics from others who did some cleanup! Share your photo: editor@westseattleblog.com)

Got a little time before dusk? You can make a big impact by heading down to the beach with a bag. There’s been lots of talk today about the noise of last night – not quite as much about the debris in its aftermath. West Seattle advocate/activist “Diver Laura” James reports back on what she found when she went to the shore this afternoon to see the aftermath:

I went out for about an hour and got halfway down Alki Beach. The fireworks debris is not as prominent as it was last year after the private fireworks display, but there was definitely stuff to be cleaned up.

The public beaches are actually a bit cleaner than the private beaches and the park next to my house, mostly because the cops shut the beach down at 11 pm last night. I encourage everyone to take 15 min to half an hour and walk the local beaches in your neighborhood. If you don’t have a local beach, take a stroll by the local park. If you don’t have a local park, check your street. It may not be your fireworks debris, but I would put a healthy wager on all of us having shot off some assortment of noisemakers at some point for which others did the cleanup. Puget Sound and its inhabitants don’t care who fired them off, it’s who picks them up that really matters. While you are out there, feel free to pick up some other trash as well – plastic caps, styrofoam, plastic utensils, earplugs, wrappers, you name it… Every little bit helps and your individual actions count.

There is a garbage patch growing on the bottom of Puget Sound, and the only way we can stop it (other than everyone learning to dive and coming with me to clean it up) is to stop the trash before it reaches the waterways. So step up, bend down, and pick up that trash. Do it for Puget Sound, do it for our collective future. A lot of the cardboard and plastic debris is up in the high tide line, mixed in with the seaweed …

… but with a bit of patience you can pick it out.

If you can’t spare any time tonight – maybe tomorrow.

ADDED: NW went to Alki and shared this photo afterward:

ADDED SUNDAY MORNING: Here’s what Claire picked up:

Anybody else? editor@westseattleblog.com

18 Replies to "West Seattle 4th of July aftermath: How you can help"

  • NW July 5, 2014 (7:39 pm)

    And if you can not make it down there to pick up trash you can ,as I do on my walks or out and about, pickup trash along our streets and near strom drains. Take a look at your surroundings at the local bar or tavern you may frequent all those cigarette butts on the ground just outside the door or out in the street and no ashtray in sight, put a large container there for the smokers it does not take much to make a difference. I have gone inside such places and kindly asked to use their broom and dustpan. It all ends up in Puget Sound if we do nothing. Thank you Laura

  • WestSide45 July 5, 2014 (7:41 pm)

    ” but I would put a healthy wager on all of us having shot off some assortment of noisemakers at some point for which others did the cleanup”…

    You would lose that wager.

  • steven CC July 5, 2014 (8:31 pm)

    Laura-good reminder. I walk on Alki nearly every morning. After a warm and pleasant evening the garbage left behind is appalling. The park department can only do so much. They get what’s on the promenade and the grass but don’t have the time or resources to get to the high tide debris. Take a bag and fill it-it won’t take long. Then, enjoy OUR beach just a little more!

  • diverlaura July 5, 2014 (9:05 pm)

    WestSide45, my hats off to you, it is a wager i’m happy to lose :)

    NW, you are so right, the everyday trash is what is piling up in channels and depressions in Puget Sound. Out from every storm drain is a massive swath of black decaying matter, garbage and cigarette butts.

    Post your daily/weekly/monthly cleanup pictures with #cleanupyourlocal______ (that is 5 strikes of the underline) and keep inspiring others to do the same. When people say “why should I do it, no one else is picking up… ” we can show them what when they pick up the trash, they are actually part of a movement! :)

    • WSB July 5, 2014 (9:10 pm)

      I just got a pic, I think from NW, with a bag of picked up trash/debris – adding it to the story! Please do share with us too (e-mail is usually best, editor@westseattleblog.com ) because Laura is so right, it’s inspirational. – TR

  • Alki Mom July 5, 2014 (9:28 pm)

    Thanks for this, Diver Laura! I will make a point of taking a bag when walking with my son tomorrow. Another opportunity to teach the importance of stewardship. Maybe an annual July 5th cleanup is in order!

  • CEA July 5, 2014 (9:36 pm)

    Thank you, Laura, both for the reminder and for your tireless efforts on behalf of our Puget Sound. I’ll be out tomorrow morning!

  • NW July 5, 2014 (9:42 pm)

    Laura I don’t believe I understand your directions about how to post or whom post to daily/monthly pictures of debris cleanup any clarification or more directions would be appreciated. I feel great after spending an hour picking up trash along the shoreline! Thanks for inspiring me to do so Laura!

  • pupsarebest July 5, 2014 (10:21 pm)

    Apparently the revelers were too caught up in their fervent, patriotic celebration of their freedoms, and reciting passages from the Declaration of Independence and Constitution, to clean up after themselves.

  • diverlaura July 5, 2014 (10:45 pm)

    Hi NW,
    My plan is to put together a local page similar to what is on the http://www.litterati.org digital landfill that can capture social media use of the #cleanupyourlocal______. That way people can feel like they are a part of something and we can show the rest of Seattle that they should do like we do (i’ll put together a page with clear directions)

    If you don’t use twitter/instagram/facebook/etc… I bet Tracy here at WSB wouldn’t mind the inspirational images sent WSB’s way :) Maybe we can have a critter video and trash cleanup post thread in the forums… “why we do what we do” :)

  • Eric July 6, 2014 (9:00 am)

    Ain’t that the truth pupsarebest!

  • CEA July 6, 2014 (11:39 am)

    I went out this morning and spent a little time collecting along the beach at Constellation Park. I brought a big, plastic Ikea bag and my trash picker-upper! Worked like a charm and I got some “great” stuff including styrofoam, a toy hand grenade, lots of small plastic bags and tiny stuff like plastic bottle caps.

  • DiverLaura July 6, 2014 (4:11 pm)

    You guys are awesome! Hearing that you are getting out and enjoying the outcome is inspirational to me, and helps me keep pushing for more involvement and outreach… Thank YOU!!! Do-goodery is infectious :) Top notch positive norms messaging without even trying, way to go WSB!!

  • NW July 6, 2014 (8:26 pm)

    I would be available if folks wanted to get together and target areas where heavy traffic is taking the opportunity to get a group together during the dry season so we can really be organized and effective for the rainy season is beneficial.

  • DiverLaura July 6, 2014 (11:54 pm)

    I’m totally in!

  • DiverLaura July 7, 2014 (2:05 am)

    Very basic website I just threw together. I’ll start working on getting a ‘recipe’ for organizing larger clean-ups and such posted (who to call from parks to get permits, cleanscapes for pickup, etc….) and if I get very crafty, maybe I can figure out a way to list cleanups from other groups…


  • Nw July 7, 2014 (10:06 pm)

    Yikes hashtag twitter man I just want to collect litter. Oh well

  • Diverlaura July 9, 2014 (1:05 am)

    Collect to your hearts content. Different things help motivate different people, I hope a hashtag doesn’t dissuade from picking up trash.

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