FOLLOWUP: 80+ volunteers gather at Alki Beach to do a job that shouldn’t have had to be done

The weekend began with a big volunteer show of support at Alki Beach. If only the trash they picked up hadn’t been left behind in the first place! The photos and report are from David Hutchinson with Seal Sitters Marine Mammal Stranding Network:

The “Sentinels of the Sound” Alki Beach cleanup Saturday morning was a great success. Over 80 volunteers showed up at the Alki Statue of Liberty before spreading out to remove litter from the beach and Park. When they returned, the material they collected was weighed and bagged for disposal. Seal Sitters would like to thank Seattle Parks & Recreation and Puget Soundkeeper Alliance for providing the cleanup supplies.

Seattle Parks and concerned Alki residents always work hard to keep the area clean but a good amount of litter was removed during the 2½ hour event. This included over 100 pounds of trash and hundreds of cigarette butts as well as a discarded insulin syringe.

Volunteers from the sponsoring groups, Seal Sitters Marine Mammal Stranding Network, SR3 and Sno-King Marine Mammal Response, staffed display tables, talked with and answered questions from passersby.

Just a quick reminder, harbor seal pupping season is now underway in our area, so if you come across a vulnerable pup (or any marine mammal) on a West Seattle beach, please call Seal Sitters’ Hotline at 206-905-7325.

28 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: 80+ volunteers gather at Alki Beach to do a job that shouldn't have had to be done"

  • Kathy June 30, 2019 (3:09 pm)

    I find it kind of disturbing that Alki Beach Pub advertises that they sell cigarettes. They post signs asking people not to use the sidewalk for an ashtray, but what about the beach and the promenade where so many cigarette butts are found?

    • Alki resident June 30, 2019 (5:31 pm)

      Does the pub need to name off all the possibilities of where a cigarette could be discarded? 

      • Kathy June 30, 2019 (8:08 pm)

        Yes, they could. If they cared.  According to the Center for Disease Control, smoking is responsible for 480,000 deaths per year. So if they cared, they probably wouldn’t sell them. 

  • Ex-Westwood Resident June 30, 2019 (3:13 pm)

    Thank you to those that went and picked up the trash that others left.You would think that as environmentally conscious as Seattle is, this wouldn’t be a problem. Guess it shows just how LAZY some people are, pack it in but too lazy to throw your garbage in the numerous containers provided for that purpose!!!

  • Also John June 30, 2019 (3:57 pm)

    Smokers don’t care where they throw away the butts…  If you don’t care about your health…why care for the environment.

    • heartless June 30, 2019 (5:35 pm)

      I don’t smoke, but with apologies to RuPaul I do believe it’s entirely possible to care about other people (and the environment) and not your own health.Besides, all sorts of people litter, I don’t think it’s limited to smokers.But yeah, don’t litter y’all.

    • Wandergurl June 30, 2019 (6:26 pm)

      Come on John. Making general judgements on any group is not good. Now for the smokers who are guilty of using the beach as an ashtray…PUT YOUR BUTTS IN THE PLASTIC COVER OF THE PACK and dump in the trash. I smoke and that’s how I handle it. Nuff said. 

    • Ex-Westwood Resident July 1, 2019 (8:49 am)

       “Smokers don’t care where they throw away the butts”Not true at ALL!!! I used to smoke, from 1984-1995 and 1998-2014, and I ALWAYS made sure to “butt” the cigarette and then hold on to the filter until I could dispose of it. When I smoked in my car, I had an old water bottle 1/2 full of water that I used as a “ButtKit” and threw it away when it was filled. And I know and knew PLENTY of smokers that do the same. It’s a crappy generalization. I could just as easily say that environmentalists only care what others do to the environment, not what they do.  

  • TJ June 30, 2019 (4:35 pm)

    What is wrong with a business advertising something that is legal? I think it’s a disgusting habit, but it’s up to the individual who owns something how they are going to dispose of it, not the business that sells it to them 

  • Mj June 30, 2019 (5:13 pm)

    I thought it was illegal to smoke in Public Parks?  I know it’s illegal to litter, cigarette butts are disgusting and people who toss them need to be fined accordingly.  

  • NW June 30, 2019 (6:51 pm)

    I participated in the clean up I thanked people who were picking up trash with their family and friends also the volunteers with the organizations. This particular event happens only once a year in a Seattle Park that gets a lot of use Alki Park. Why is there no involvement in Seattle City Parks volunteer program cleaning up litter in the park more often thru the year?

    • WSB June 30, 2019 (7:23 pm)

      How do you know there’s not? Alki is the site of many volunteer cleanups every year. We don’t even get word of all of them unless someone sends us the info for a calendar listing and/or announcement.

  • jack June 30, 2019 (6:57 pm)

    This sounds a lot like the article the Seattle Times ran today.

  • TJ June 30, 2019 (7:47 pm)

    Mj, cigarette smoking is at least  allowed in public. Marijuana is not allowed in public at all, although roll down Alki on a nice crowded night and it is done blatantly in the open, as I have seen 2 officers walk past a group of underage kids (another citation) smoking weed and not even say a word. The lax police picking which laws to enforce is the contributing to the cities problems 

  • Mj June 30, 2019 (10:10 pm)

    TJCigarette smoking is not allowed in Public Parks nor is pot smoking.  Both offences need to be cited accordinglyMJ

  • Lagartija Nick July 1, 2019 (8:47 am)

    Judging from the included photo, cigarette butts make up 2%-3% of the volume of that trash. The overwhelming majority of it is plastic. And while people should definitely not throw their butts on the beach it is disingenuous at best to suggest that beach pollution at Alki is generated by smokers. Plastic is far more dangerous to our environment (from production to disposal) yet you all have only called out smokers. Way to miss the big ‘picture’.

    • Kathy July 1, 2019 (9:33 am)

      Well, maybe it’s different this time but the last time I participated in a beach cleanup on Alki it was at least 75% cigarette butts.

    • Jon Wright July 1, 2019 (12:09 pm)

      Here’s a website that claims “the overall littering rate for cigarette butts is 65%, and tobacco products comprise 38% of all U.S. roadway litter.” Anecdotally, I see plenty of smokers who seem to think it is okay to toss their butts wherever. As disgusting and obnoxious as smoking is, you’d think the people who do it could at least have to decency to not befoul the environment even more.

    • Lagartija Nick July 1, 2019 (5:14 pm)

      Again, looking at the picture: there are 19 buckets of plastic and miscellaneous garbage, and 1 partially filled bag of butts. How very Orwellian to tell me what I see isn’t true.

  • sonic1002 July 1, 2019 (12:20 pm)

    I conduct my own Alki Beach Cleanup most mornings at 6am.  i am usually able to fill up a large white trash bag with trash from my morning walk.  My unscientific observation is that 80% of the garbage I collect is located very near the fire pits.  Mostly plastic bottles, beer cans, glass bottles.   Makes me wonder if the fire pits are a good idea.  Obviously those using them can’t handle the responsibility.  Typically 50% of the fire pits have garbage scattered around them on Sat/Sun/Mon mornings.   

    • NW July 1, 2019 (8:46 pm)

      Thank you for your service would you be interested in reaching out to parks along with me to have an established volunteer duty on a monthly basis? I feel we should get community involvement and as great a service Seal Sitters provided more need to be done each month of the year. So again sonic 1002 are you interested?

  • Nwmama July 1, 2019 (10:23 pm)

    Thank you sonic! Im sure you’re right that many people using the fire pits are being lazy.  But I also know that it’s hard to pick up well in the dark of the evening/night.   I’m sure not all of it is left out of carelessness.   Thank you for what you do!   

  • Mike July 2, 2019 (9:54 am)

    Great job!  Volunteers are wonderful.   But, on Friday, July 5, the whole beach area will be a mess, taking many tax-funded hours of Parks Department labor to clean up.  Disgusting.

    • OhHowIknow July 2, 2019 (10:17 am)

      OOH Mike you are so right  the timing of the volunteer clean-up should had been July 5th!

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