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Home » Archives » April 2012 » The Great SJ Island Clean-Up Is Coming Up

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04/17/2012: "The Great SJ Island Clean-Up Is Coming Up"


ig_IslandCleanUp-R_Lockwood-L_Bormann-R_Karon_2011-1 (84k image)
(Last year's clean-up: R. Lockwood, L. Bormann, & R. Karon -contributed photo)

Be part of this years Great SJ Island Clean-Up…an easy way to keep our island great. On Saturday, (04-21-12), from 10 am to noon volunteers will walk the roadsides and beaches of the San Juan Island, come rain or shine, and pick up litter.

Over 200 islanders participated in last year’s clean-up, collecting more than 5000 pounds of litter, with much of this weight coming from well over 1000 beer bottles/cans.

Unfortunately, litter keeps accumulating, despite the efforts of many islanders who have adopted specific stretches of roads or beaches and regularly pick up litter there.

Thoughtless people continue to toss beer and/or soda cans and bottles, cigarette butts, food wrappings, and a variety of other things as they drive, bike or walk by. And drivers with unsecured loads are contributing to the mess by allowing things to blow out of the back of their pick-up trucks (lots of Styrofoam pellets end up as litter this way).

Multiple organizations -including San Juan County; the Town of Friday Harbor; San Juan Sanitation; Chamber of Commerce; Kiwanis; Lions; Rotarians; Soroptimists, and Friends of the San Juans- are collaborating to sponsor the Great Island Clean-Up, a day when all able-bodied islanders are encouraged to help pick up the accumulated trash so that residents and visitors alike are treated to a litter-free island when warmer and sunnier weather beckons us all outdoors.

Every single islander is encouraged to be a part of this effort by picking up any litter they see right in front of their own home or business. And if you would like to do more, come to the Market Place any time between April 13-20 to sign up for the section of road or beach that you’d like to clean. If you can’t sign up in person, contact Lori Stokes at 378-4643 or loristokes3@gmail.com to reserve the area you’d like to adopt.

FREE pick-up bags (for collecting both garbage and items that can be recycled) can be obtained at the Chamber of Commerce office on Spring Street. If you want other supplies (grabbers, safety vests, gloves), pick-up kits containing all these items will be available for sale at a discounted price at both ACE and Browne’s; if you prefer not to purchase your own supplies, there will be some available at the Chamber of Commerce office that you can borrow for the day.

Picking up litter in small groups is much more fun, and also a great deal safer. So gather some friends or family members and make a party out of it. And if you’re not a litter-picker-upper that day but are out and about in your car, please be cautious and keep an eye out so that those who are working can do so in relative safety; many of our roadsides lack shoulders and good sight lines.

This year’s event is being held in honor of Patt Martin, who served for 12 years (1998-2010) as the San Juan County Litter Program Coordinator. It was Patt who almost single-handedly put the program together, got it funded year after year, and became the heart and soul of this extremely well-respected and valued community service.

For more information about the event, contact Lori Stokes at 378-4643 or David Dehlendorf at 378-1082.

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