Beach cleanup is Saturday |

Beach cleanup is Saturday

Tires, boat parts and a sunken life jacket were recovered by divers. Papers, cans, bottles and thousands of cigarette butts were collected from sandy beaches. Volunteers pulled an old couch and an abandoned car out of a stream.

That is what happened during last year’s California Coastal Cleanup Day, and those results weren’t from Los Angeles or San Francisco. That trash was found in the Lake Tahoe Basin.

“Some people don’t realize if they throw trash on the ground it ends up in the water,” said Sandy Belstler, program assistant for the Clean Tahoe Program and El Dorado County coordinator for this year’s event. “You may not head to the beach every day, but your trash does.”

The 15th annual California Coastal Cleanup Day is Sept. 18. Tahoe volunteers are expected to be cleaning Pope, Baldwin, Kiva and other beaches. Divers will be in the depths of Fallen Leaf Lake and around the Tahoe Keys. Others will be cleaning up around Taylor Creek.

Community groups have adopted certain beaches. Drop-in volunteers will be welcome at Pope and Kiva beaches.

“When you think about all the cigarette butts right there along Tahoe, those go right into the lake. We have to clean it,” said Heidi Hill Drum, spokeswoman for the League to Save Lake Tahoe, a participant in the event. “Every year you find plastic tops to bottles, cans – a bunch of trash that would go directly into Tahoe.”

Last year at Tahoe, 134 volunteers collected 2,897 pounds of trash. Statewide, 50,000 volunteers picked up nearly 800,000 pounds of trash and recyclable materials. The most common item found in California was cigarette butts – 333,000.

Sponsored by Brita, the California cleanup day is part of an international effort. Brita is providing free Brita water filtration pitchers to California participants. The person in the state who discovers the strangest piece of trash wins $500.

“It’s a fun day,” Belstler said. “We welcome everyone in the community.”

What: California Coastal Cleanup

Where: Drop-in beaches at Kiva and Pope beaches; others by registration

When: Sept. 18, 9 a.m. to noon

Benefits: Volunteers receive a Brita water filter

Information: Clean Tahoe Program, (530) 544-4210; League to Save Lake Tahoe, (530) 541-5454

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