If you were to visit Washington beaches on the 5th of July and did not understand the holiday that happened the day before you may think it part of our culture to celebrate destroying and trashing our public beaches and deem it patriotic. Every year thousands upon thousands of pounds of trash including firework debris, food packaging, beer boxes, and whatever else you can imagine is left on our beaches leaving an end of the world disaster look. As a result, Surfrider activists took proactive measures to reduce the trash while also circling up at various beaches to pick up what others left behind.
Pictured here is just one truck load of garbage from a Westport area beach. The Seattle and Capitol chapters were on hand to help organize the cleanup in partnership with Washington CoastSavers. The chapter found that beach access points where they handed out bags on July 4th to people as they pulled their cars in were much more free of trash then those without an individual on hand. Next year the goal is for more volunteers to be at the various beach access points giving people that extra nudge to pick up after themselves. In the end though it was not the silver bullet and even those beaches where a presence to pick up after yourself still accrued plenty of trash.
The July 5th cleanups and trash on the beaches were obviously not specific and localized to the coast. Both the South Sound Chapter and the Northwest Straits (NWS) took to their local beaches to take action and ensure their favorite spots for recreating were restored to their previous condition. In Tacoma, the chapter followed up the annual freedom fair on the waterfront, picking up garbage from Jack Hyde to Marine Park. The NWS took to the local kiteboarding spot and home to one of their restoration projects, Whirlwind Beach, where they found helping hands as people approached them for bags to help cleanup this enjoyable stretch in the Bellingham area.
Thanks to all our activists who spent their holiday weekend picking up after others. It shows true commitment from our volunteers to preserve the areas they love. Hopefully every year we have more volunteers and less trash for them to pick up on our prized beaches. Please keep in mind to get involved next year with a cleanup hosted by your local chapter on the 5th of July to help us keep our beaches clean.