Nearly a ton of trash picked up after Tahoe Fourth
This year’s Fourth of July celebration left more trash on Lake Tahoe’s beaches than each of the previous three years.
The League to Save Lake Tahoe reports that 315 people volunteered along the shoreline of Lake Tahoe on July 5, for the annual cleanup following Tahoe’s busiest holiday. Participants removed 1,875 pounds of litter that would have harmed the lake’s ecology.
“The fact that so many people devoted part of the long holiday to help Keep Tahoe Blue says a lot about their love for this place,” Marilee Movius, the League’s community engagement manager, said in a press release. “We’re grateful to the hundreds of visitors and community members who gave their time to take care of Lake Tahoe’s shoreline.”
Last year, 499 volunteers removed about 1,500 pounds of trash during the cleanup. In 2017 volunteers removed 1,676 pounds of litter, a slight increase compared to the 1,596 pounds of trash collected in 2016.
This year, cleanup participants gathered at five beaches around Lake Tahoe to remove litter from 10 miles of shoreline, including Commons Beach in Tahoe City, Kings Beach, Kiva Beach and Tallac Historic Site, Nevada Beach, Zephyr Cove and Zephyr Shoals and Regan Beach in South Lake Tahoe.
Volunteers sorted and counted the items collected.
Once again, single-use plastics were the most commonly-found trash item, including 5,458 cigarette butts and 8,791 pieces of plastic, which includes cups, lids, bottle caps and straws. Most plastics do not biodegrade but instead break down into smaller and smaller pieces that may release toxins or harm wildlife and remain in Lake Tahoe for thousands of years.
“While it’s discouraging to see so much litter on the shoreline, the data our volunteers have gathered are helping to drive advocacy for solutions to the environmental challenges at Tahoe,” Jesse Patterson, the League’s chief strategy officer, said in the release.
Earlier this summer, the League partnered with the Tahoe Water Suppliers Association to launch a cigarette disposal canister program lake-wide. A total of 250 canisters are being installed at “hotspot” locations around the lake over the course of this summer. According to the League, these “hotspots” were identified through the previous five years of beach cleanup data gathered by Keep Tahoe Blue volunteers who removed over 90,000 cigarette butts from Tahoe’s shoreline.
The League expressed its gratitude for partnering land managers, including California Land Management, California State Parks, the city of South Lake Tahoe, the Tahoe City Public Utility District and the U.S. Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit.
The July 5 cleanup would not be possible, according to the League, without the support of sponsors: Heavenly Mountain Resort, Northstar-California, MontBleu Resort Casino and Spa, Zephyr Cove Resort, Trunk Show and RnR Vacation Rentals. The Clean Tahoe Program, Evolution Bags and South Tahoe Refuse also provided support.