Friends and neighbors of Seahurst Park helped turn the tide on trash with a cleanup event on Sept. 15, so that 178 pounds would not enter Puget Sound.

The City of Burien sponsors the Environmental Science Center (ESC) to coordinate a cleanup each fall and spring and the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal cleanup in fall is the largest worldwide volunteer project in service to our oceans.

Thanks to 61 volunteers, more than 300 plastic particles and 600 cigarette butts, which also contain plastic and chemicals, were removed, along with three trash bags full of recyclables. Cleanup crews tracked what they collected and some used the Ocean Conservancy’s mobile app, Ocean Swell, which can be used daily to report the removal of marine debris. The Orca Conservancy was also on site to discuss local whale populations and how to help them.

Here are some photos of the event courtesy ESC; click images to view larger versions/slideshow:

Puget Soundkeeper is the regional coordinator for cleanups that occur within the Puget Sound basin and will develop another annual report on what litter was found, including microplastics. These are plastic fragments and fibers five millimeters and smaller that come from the breakdown of larger plastics, but also car tires, latex paint and synthetic clothing fibers. These litter forms can absorb toxins and have shown up in the food web.
In 2017, Puget Soundkeeper coordinated with the University of Washington to sample water and found 41 of 44 local sites between the San Juans and Olympia contained at least one microplastic. Seahurst Park had 2 fibers/fragments. A sample was collected during this event as well. ESC will coordinate another public cleanup in spring of 2019.
The beach at Seahurst is known for its low tide treasure trove of invertebrates, such as sea stars, sea anemones, moon snails and sand dollars. The removal of wrappers and plastics helps reduce the negative impacts on these creatures in their plankton or adult forms. The phrase “trash is the only thing you can take from the beach” is a common saying in the park to ensure that shells, rocks and animals stay put to become homes for barnacles, crabs and their comrades.
You can see some of the cool marine life helped by volunteer efforts during three of ESC’s Moonlight Beach Walks that start in December. Popularity soared last year, so registration is now required for these fun events, which are sponsored by King Conservation Flood District.
For more details and to register or volunteer please visit or call 206-248-4266.
ESC is at the north end of Seahurst Park on the gravel path, past the restrooms, at 2220 SW Seahurst Park Road:

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