By Oliver Lazenby
For a nice change, cleanup volunteers found less July 4th garbage on the beach at Birch Bay than the previous year.
For the past few years, volunteers have spent long hours picking up Fourth of July detritus from Birch Bay, and every year the amount of garbage they find has gone way up, said Doralee Booth, a Birch Bay Chamber of Commerce board member.
In 2009, the pile of spent fireworks, empty beer cans, bottles and other garbage they collected weighed in at 2.17 tons on Sanitary Services Company’s scale. By 2015, the refuse weighed 5.43 tons. This year’s garbage total came to just over 4 tons, a 1.4-ton reduction.
Booth thinks the difference came down to a “preemptive educational attack” – she and other chamber members walked the beach during the day, picking up trash, handing out garbage bags, and explaining to people how partiers have been increasingly using the beach as an Independence Day garbage dump.
“I believe some people packed their trash home,” Booth said. “People I spoke with want this event to continue and were happy to be part of the solution.”