5,000 fewer butts on the beach: Seal Sitters’ Alki cleanup

(Photo by Eilene Hutchinson)
That’s part of what Seal Sitters Marine Stranding Network, friends, and volunteers found during their Alki Beach cleanup Saturday morning. From Robin Lindsey:

After learning that 360 billion cigarette butts are discarded each year in the US (you can just imagine the numbers worldwide!), volunteers spread out along Alki Beach and the sidewalks with buckets and bags. They returned with over 5,000 butts and amassed a large amount of trash in under two hours. Passersby were astounded and very grateful. People in cars yelled out their support as they drove by the dedicated people plucking up all sorts of toxic and dangerous trash along the street.

Before heading out, the volunteers got educational encouragement:

(Photo by Robin Lindsey)

Daoud Miller from Seattle Aquarium Beach Naturalists (photo above) spoke briefly to more than 80 volunteers, asking them to make sure to hceck trash before removing it in case an invertebrate had claimed it as “home.” He was available all morning to engage with participants and inform them about the small critters that live along the shoreline. Peggy Foreman, education specialist from NOAA, talked passionately about the Arroyos gray whale who died in 2010 with a disturbing amount of human trash in his stomach.

Seal Sitters, Seattle Parks and Recreation, ACC and PAWS (co-sponsors of the event) thank everyone who helped make the beach safer for marine life yesterday!

More photos and details from Saturday are in Robin’s full report on Seal Sitters’ blubberblog website.

10 Replies to "5,000 fewer butts on the beach: Seal Sitters' Alki cleanup"

  • Mike June 14, 2015 (8:12 pm)

    Thanks to all that went out and cleaned up after those too lazy to throw out their cancer sticks when they’re done using them along with a bunch of other toxic trash.

  • Eddie June 14, 2015 (9:28 pm)

    I’ve often thought that a $20 deposit on each cigarette filter purchased would put a huge dent in the ubiquitous trash in this country. Buy a pack, leave a $400 deposit, returned upon return of twenty “cigarette ends”. Could also lead to a massive cleanup effort of our already trashed environment.

  • waytogomo June 14, 2015 (10:22 pm)

    Maybe it’s time to start a “get your butts outta here” campaign?

  • Melissa June 14, 2015 (10:28 pm)

    Well done, Seal Sitters and friends! And to those of you responsible for these, clean the hell up after yourselves.

  • admiralmom June 14, 2015 (10:59 pm)

    Thank you for stepping up and spending part of this beautiful weekend making the beach a better place for all of us, animals and people both. You guys are awesome!

  • John June 15, 2015 (7:54 am)

    I’ll admit that the comments above surprise me. Don’t get me wrong….I’m thrilled.
    After reading all the hateful comments from West Seattle regarding the Shell protesters, I expected WS residents to scream that they have the right to throw garbage anywhere they desire.
    So this is a pleasant surprise.

  • Ex-Westwood Resident June 15, 2015 (10:53 am)

    As a smoker, seeing all those butts PISSES me off.
    Sure I smoke in public, but the one thing I do is to snuff out the cigarette and hold on to the filter until I can find a trash receptacle to put it in, or I carry a small bottle of water to put it in and then throw that into a trash can.
    There are enough trash cans along Alki that throwing it on the beach is not needed.

  • NW June 15, 2015 (5:44 pm)

    Made it to the event to clean up with seal sitters organization Saturday and worked from the bathhouse west zig zagging between the edge of the walkway and bulkhead to the grassy areas and around picnic tables , barbecue pits. Took about an hour or more sweeping butts into my dustpan ,upright dustpan so little to no bending over. I wish I would have gotten my own photos to document. Along this stretch of walkway when the tides are real high and flood the area cigarette butts have no where else to go straws from coffee drinks bottle caps you name it. It all goes right into puget sound. It’s sad really, I smoked for years and threw away my fair share of butts irresponsibly and see sometimes others do the same. I have also found myself engaging with smokers and asking them what they do with their butts when they are done. I don’t think it’s right to give them a guilt trip but it is right I believe to start some sort of out reach and education about what exactly they are doing. It’s very important reach out to someone you know who smokes or go sweep some up along the walkway there on alki one morning before the high tides drag them out to puget sound. Sign up with this organization be on their mailing list next year ,although I suggested they hold another after the summer when the crowds begin to lessen and the tides get higher with high winds. This area is only going to increase with park users.

  • highlandpark June 15, 2015 (6:10 pm)

    This is a great product for disposing of cig butts until you’re near a trash can: http://www.amazon.com/Kiipr-Pouch-Pocket-Ashtray-3-pack/dp/B00DP7GSSI/

    I’m curious though. How many of these butts are from a) people smoking ON the beach OR b) butts that wash up on the beach, having gotten into the water via surface water runoff of street litter?

    The smoking ban in Seattle Parks addresses A (if they enforce it) but not B, and my suspicion is that B is a much bigger contributor to what winds up on the beach.

    Either way, thank you to all who volunteered!

  • kravitz June 16, 2015 (7:53 am)

    @Eddie – that is a GREAT idea. That would definitely change some behavior, I think. Thank you to all of those that participated in the clean up. I am amazed and disgusted by the disregard that people have when it comes to littering: flicking cigarette butts, leaving their dog’s waste, gum wrappers, pop cans etc. It’s truly disappointing to see that common sense doesn’t seem to be all that common any more.

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