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Plenty of volunteers pick up Tahoe trash

Dan Thrift/Tahoe TribuneScouring Pope Beach for what he called micro-trash, Coby Porter, with the Urban Land Management crew from the California Tahoe Conservancy, works Saturday during the 18th Annual Coastal Cleanup Day.
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A Barbie with a screw through her hand was one of the more bizarre items found during the annual Coastal Cleanup Day. Volunteers at Blackwood Meadows disposed of it along with 80 CD cases, Christmas ornaments and items from a homeless camp.

Armed with blue trash bags and green recyclable bags, volunteers hit the beaches and waterways around the South Shore to rid the basin of trash.

In three hours on Saturday more than 3,500 pounds of garbage were picked up and almost 300 pounds of recyclables were gathered. This was the 18th Annual California Coastal Cleanup Day, with it being Clean Tahoe’s eighth year to participate. The cleanup day is always the third Saturday of September.



“There was more enthusiasm this year,” coordinator Joann Eisenbrandt said. “There were more people dropping in.” There were 20 clean-up sites on the South Shore. Last year there were 200 volunteers, this year about 370.

Some repeat volunteers told Eisenbrandt they found the area cleaner than in past years.




“This means people are being more careful, which is the whole point of it — to educate people,” Eisenbrandt said.

She is thinking that next year instead of scouring beaches like Baldwin and Pope which have a contract with a company to clean the beach, resources may be directed to less visible areas.

“There are other areas for the divers to go to,” Eisenbrandt said. “Maybe we will go off the beaten path to get stuff out there.”

A crew of 10 with ties to the unopened Marriott — either employees or family members — helped to clean El Dorado Beach. Before employees Greg Darbonne and Erika Hernandez, and Hernandez’s 13-year-old sister, Alondra, got to the beach they had collected 160 cigarette butts. These were found on the bike path from the beach to Rufus Allen Boulevard.

Before they called it quits after 90 minutes, more than 300 butts were removed. Erika Hernandez said it was easy to imagine a driver tossing the butt out the window as they zipped along Highway 50.

The grossest item they carted off was a diaper that had been stuffed into the rocks, as though out of sight was good enough for the litter bug.

It was hard to chart all of the items. Shards of glass was an item their group made up, though glass bottles were officially on the list.

It was easy to speculate that drivers tossed their empties out the car and onto the rock retaining wall on the beach. Other drinkers stashed their bottles and cans into the rocks instead of tossing them in garbage cans.

A flattened Coors can was floating at the edge of the water as was some glass. The lower lake level is revealing more than just sediment.

Besides cigarette butts, the trio picked up more than 100 food wrappers and assorted pieces of paper.

Just when they thought they were done for the day, Darbonne cleared the path — dropping a condom into the blue bag.

Even though they found a couple ears of eaten corn, it was out at Pope Beach where dental floss was found next to some cobs.

— Kathryn Reed may be reached at (530) 541-3880, ext. 251 or kreed@tahoedailytribune.com


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