LAKE TAHOE – Today, over 500 people volunteered along the shoreline of Lake Tahoe to protect the national treasure. As part of a lakewide cleanup organized by the League to Save Lake Tahoe (Keep Tahoe Blue), participants removed 1,458 pounds of litter that would have harmed the Lake’s ecology.
“The fact that so many people devoted part of their day to help Keep Tahoe Blue says a lot about their love for this place,” said Marilee Movius, the League’s community engagement manager. “We’re grateful to the hundreds of visitors and community members who gave their time to take care of Lake Tahoe’s shoreline.”
Cleanup participants gathered at five locations around Lake Tahoe, and together removed litter from six miles of shoreline, including Commons Beach in Tahoe City, Kings Beach, Kiva Beach, Nevada Beach and Regan Beach in South Lake Tahoe. Volunteers sorted and counted the items collected.
Once again, single-use plastics were the most commonly-found trash item, including 8,061 cigarette butts and 18,235 pieces of plastic, which includes cups, lids, bottle caps and food wrappers. Most plastics do not biodegrade, but instead break down into smaller pieces that may release toxics or be eaten by wildlife.
“While it’s discouraging to see so much litter on the shoreline, the data our volunteers have gathered are helping to drive advocacy for solutions to the environmental challenges at Tahoe,” said Jesse Patterson, the League’s chief strategy officer.
Earlier this year, the City of South Lake Tahoe adopted a ban on most single-use products made of polystyrene. Between 2015 and 2017, volunteers removed over 5,000 pieces of disposable expanded polystyrene products—including coolers, plates and clamshell containers—and 4,500 plastic straws and utensils from Lake Tahoe’s shoreline.
The city relied on the League’s data in crafting its ordinance, which takes effect in October. The League supports the city’s vision for a prohibition on disposable polystyrene products being enacted throughout the entire Lake Tahoe Basin. Many forward-thinking Tahoe businesses have already made the switch to greener products, including members of the League’s Blue Business program.
The League is grateful to our partnering land managers, who do a great job maintaining these areas and need help with the high impact during the holidays. These include California Land Management, California State Parks, the City of South Lake Tahoe, the Tahoe City Public Utility District, and the United States Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit. Our cleanups are made possible by the support of our cleanup site sponsors, local Tahoe businesses: Heavenly Mountain Resort, Northstar-California, Montbleu Resort and Casino, RnR Vacation Rentals, and Tahoe City Kayak. Cleanup equipment donations from Clean Tahoe Program, Evolution Bags, Montbleu Resort and Casino and South Tahoe Refuse.
The League to Save Lake Tahoe, also known by the slogan “Keep Tahoe Blue,” is Tahoe’s oldest and largest nonprofit environmental advocacy organization. The League is dedicated to community engagement and education, and collaborating to find solutions to Tahoe’s environmental challenges. The League’s main campaigns include combatting pollution, promoting restoration, tackling invasive species and protecting Tahoe’s shoreline.