Waterways deserve better than they are getting | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Waterways deserve better than they are getting

An army of volunteers will be scouring the shores across the world on Saturday to clean up after people too irresponsible to have done it themselves.

As much as it is admirable of these people to spend three hours of their weekend on such a worthy cause, it is a shame that it even needs to be done.

A casual look at Lake Tahoe and one would think this pristine lake would not be on the list of waterways needing cleaning. Wrong. In 2001, more than 4,000 pounds of garbage and 200 pounds of recyclable items were retrieved from the Tahoe area. This includes the lake and the tributaries that feed into it.

There are not enough adjectives to describe what a travesty this is. There is the unwritten hikers’ code of responsibility that you carry out more than you carry in. Obviously this is a bit of a contradictory statement because if people did not soil the land, others would not be picking up after them.

It is not difficult to carry out what you carry in. It is not difficult to throw away the trash you have after a day at the beach. Cigarette butts are strewn everywhere. Throw them away, don’t leave them on the ground.

It is unconscionable to dump furniture anywhere except for a designated landfill. Yes, even couches have been found on Coastal Cleanup Day as well as household appliances.

More than 40,000 volunteers will be at more than 400 sites throughout California this weekend. Tahoe expects 400 volunteers to show up on Saturday at the beaches from 9 a.m. to noon. California started the cleanup a year before it became an international event. Since 1985, Californians have retrieved more than 7.5 million pounds of debris from the state’s shorelines.

Our waterways are here for everyone. Next time you think about throwing something in the water, leaving garbage on the beach or tossing that candy wrapper in the woods, remember it could be flowing into a waterway that is part of your drinking water. That alone should be a scary enough thought to get you to act responsibly.

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