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Every day is Earth Day - beach cleanup a success

On this stunningly beautiful morning, the wildlife of Puget Sound got a helping hand, as caring people from around the region removed dangerous trash from Alki Beach, surrounding sidewalks and streets.

Before volunteers dispersed for “Sentinels of the Sound” trash duty, Seal Sitters’ Robin Lindsey spoke briefly about the devastating effects debris and plastic pollution have on marine life. The crowd was then treated to some rules of beach etiquette and info about invertebrates from Seattle Aquarium Beach Naturalist Janice Mathisen (on the right with colleague Zoey Black).

Enthusiastically grabbing buckets, bags and “pluckers”, volunteers set out on their mission to pick up toxic trash. Kids and adults could be seen scouring the area over the next two hours, returning with piles of glass and plastic bottles, cans, clothing and plastic caps. A recent study showed that a shocking 90% of all birds have plastic in their stomachs. Volunteers also brought back bags loaded with deadly cigarette butts. Cigarette filters take 5 years to biodegrade; within an hour of coming into contact with water, they begin leaching toxins into soil and waterways, poisoning the food chain.

Thanks to the many people who took time out of their weekend to make a difference for wildlife! The fabulous Baker family drove all the way from Puyallup this morning to help keep marine life safe. Flipper hugs to the cool kids from West Seattle’s Pathfinder School who, after studying about plastics pollution this year, determinedly donned rubber gloves, too.

Along with the more obvious litter, brand new Seal Sitters volunteers Derek and daughters Laura and June (photo left) picked up minute pieces of plastic that animals mistake for food.

When you visit the beach, remember to stash some gloves and a garbage bag in your backpack. Every single piece of trash removed from our environment can truly have a positive impact and save wildlife from poisoning, injury and death. Every day is Earth Day.
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