Beach Clean Up Gathers a Staggering 8,559 Pounds of Trash at Lake Tahoe, CA, After Independence Day

Julia Schneemann | | Industry NewsIndustry News
Beach clean up
Two young volunteers at the annual Lake Tahoe beach clean up following 4th of July celebrations doing their share to keep Lake Tahoe clean. | Picture: Keep Tahoe Blue Instagram

Shocking pictures are coming from Lake Tahoe, California, where 4th of July holiday visitors have seemingly had a good time but decided to just leave all their trash behind. It is a sad sight to behold and looks more like pictures from a third-world country’s garbage dump. The blatant disregard for Mother Nature and the fragile environment is not a new problem and occurs every year. Last year more than 300 volunteers, a dive team, and a beach-cleaning robot spread out across five beaches on Lake Tahoe on July 5, 2022, and collected a staggering 3,450 pounds of trash.

Unfortunately, this year that amount was trash was more than double with 8,559 pounds of litter collected in just three hours by 402 volunteers.

Lake Tahoe
Trash left behind at Lake Tahoe. | Picture: Keep Tahoe Blue Instagram

Lake Tahoe is one of the most popular places in Northern California to celebrate the 4th of July, but it is incredibly disappointing that people who come to enjoy the beautiful outdoors treat it with such blatant disregard. Each year for the last decade, hundreds of volunteers gather to clean up the trash left behind and the trash collected has been increasing.

Lake Tahoe
The same stretch of beach after the clean up. | Picture: Keep Tahoe Blue Instagram

The amount of trash found this year is staggering and disappointing after a period of declining amounts of trash. The trash left behind hurts precious local wildlife and affects the cleanliness of the lake itself. Even though the beaches look cleaner, there are still microplastics that make their way into the sand and waterways and hurt our environment. Cigarettes left behind leach toxins, such as nicotine, arsenic, and heavy metals into the ground, and 1 cigarette alone can contaminate up to 1,000 liters of water.

Beach robot
The beach robot can sift out some of the smaller pieces of trash, such as bottle caps and straws. | Picture: Keep Tahoe Blue Instagram

If we want to enjoy our beautiful nature for generations to come, we all need to do our part. Relying on good samaritans to do the work for thousands of holiday visitors is not a long-term answer. Reducing the use of disposable containers and building awareness around the toxins in the trash left behind needs to stay in the foreground of everyone’s day-to-day life, to help make a long-term impact. The League to Save Lake Tahoe’s advocacy is hoping to enforce bans on plastic bags, styrofoam, and plastic water bottles going forward.

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2 thoughts on “Beach Clean Up Gathers a Staggering 8,559 Pounds of Trash at Lake Tahoe, CA, After Independence Day

  1. Here’s a thought, if the visitors can’t act like responsible adults’ and take out what they bring in, then cancel all celebrations and close the access to the lake until they get the message! If this is too extreme then have conservation officers there and heavily fined these litter’s.


    I grew up in CA in the 70s, 80s, early 90s, between the Bay Area and the mountains, and public awareness about litter went from poor to really exemplary. By the late 80s litter in most places had nearly vanished. Now, in the Berkeley Hills overlooking the bay, huge amounts of plastic litter accumulate just off the roads, now seeing this in Tahoe…

    We need a state or national campaign against litter again. TV ads, billboards, etc. It worked back then, it can work now. This is insane.

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