Journal of the San Juan Islands


Great Island Cleanup: Round 3

Journal of the San Juans Editor
April 15, 2013 · Updated 6:32 PM

Great Island Cleanup: Round 3 / Contributed photo

By Scott Rasmussen

Journal editor

The good news is that you probably won’t have to lather on the sunscreen, or worry too much about breaking out in a sweat.

The weather forecast calls for a high of 54 degrees and a slight chance of a shower or two.

But the not so good news is there’s somewhere in the neighborhood of another 2,000 pounds of trash, quite likely more, strewn along the roadways, sitting in the ditches and scattered across San Juan Island’s picturesque beaches. That’s the amount of trash gathered up and disposed of a year ago during the second annual island-wide community cleanups, aka the “Great Island Cleanup”.

On Saturday, April 20 — that’s two days before Earth Day — the Great Island Cleanup crew, which includes any able-bodied person who’s willing to lend a hand, will be at it again. While the event officially runs from 9 a.m. to noon, you can get started and pitch in as part of the 3rd Annual Great Island Cleanup at pretty much anytime you’d like. And the GIC steering committee once again encourages you to take part in the island-wide spring cleaning ensemble by picking up whatever litter might by lying around near your home or place of business.

But if you’d like to get more deeply involved in this year’s cleanup extravaganza there’s still plenty of time and ample opportunity to do so. You can hook up with one of the many neighborhood groups or civic organizations that already are scheduled to help, most with a particular location in mind, by contacting David Dehlendorf, co-founder of San Juan Island’s Anti-Litter Initiative, 378-1082, or at dauffa@gmail.com.

“Picking up litter in small groups is much more fun and also a great deal safer,” Lori Stokes of the GIC steering committee says. “So gather some friends, co-workers, or family members and make a party out of it.” (A cautionary note to motorists: stay alert and vigilant for the safety of those picking up trash along the island’s narrow and winding roads; lack of adequate shoulders and good sight lines can be a danger).

As in the past, a multitude of local organizations have joined forces to help sponsor the event. The list includes: San Juan Island Chamber of Commerce, Soroptimists International of Friday Harbor, the Lions and Rotarians, Friends of the San Juans, San Juan County and the Town of Friday Harbor, and the county’s local franchise waste hauler, San Juan Sanitation.

The collaborative effort to spruce up the island appears to making a difference. The 2,000 pounds of trash collected last year, with about 250 people pitching in, is less than half the 5,000 pounds collected during the first GIC, by about 200 volunteers.

The Chamber of Commerce will have free pickup bags available at its Spring Street headquarters this week, and some trash grabbers and safety vests as well. Both Browne’s Home Center and ACE Hardware also plan to offer pick-up supplies at discount prices.

San Juan Sanitation will collect garbage bags dropped off by 2 p.m. on the day of the GIC at any of these locations (see side-bar). Trash can also be disposed of for free at the solid waste transfer station on Sutton Road during regular business hours by identifying oneself as a GIC “litter-picker-upper”.

Info, 378-4643; loristokes3@gmail.com.

Drop-off sites:

— The closed lumber store on Spring Street, across from the Best Western.

— Parking area at South Beach.

— Following intersections: Roche Harbor/West Valley, Mitchell Bay/Westside, Beaverton Valley/Egg Lake, Bailer Hill/Douglas roads.


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