A group of 13 volunteers from Sea Shepherd Seattle cleaned up Golden Gardens beach and park on Sunday, collecting over 100 pounds of trash.
Spent fireworks made up a sizable portion of the trash, along with plastics, glass bottles, and cans.
“Despite the signs prohibiting fireworks in the park, it was very clear those signs were ignored,” Chris Joyce from Sea Shepherd Seattle tells My Ballard.
“As you probably know, fireworks cause extensive air pollution in a short amount of time, leaving metal particles, dangerous toxins, harmful chemicals and smoke in the air for hours and days. Some of the toxins never fully decompose or disintegrate, but rather hang around in the environment, poisoning all they come into contact with. We wanted to keep these contaminated items from going into the Puget Sound, only to be digested by marine life.”
Joyce says the chemicals and plastics can find their way into forage fish, which are eaten by salmon, which are then eaten by the critically endangered Southern Resident orcas.
“As we cleaned the beach, we received many “thank you’s” from beach goers but we had to shake our heads as we saw these people literally surrounded by trash, not making any effort to at least clean the area where they were sitting,” Joyce says.
Sea Shepherd is an international organization that works to protect and conserve marine wildlife; their Marine Debris Program conducts beach/lake/waterfront cleanups by chapters all over the world, focusing on ocean plastics.
The Seattle chapter is usually active with regional conservation and cleanup events; to learn about upcoming events, follow along on Facebook or email the group at Seattle@SeaShepherd.org to be added to their newsletter.
Photos: Sea Shepherd Seattle