Five tons of trash collected

<I>Provided photo<?I><BR>Old tires were among the 10,000 pounds of trash removed from Peninsula beaches over the weekend.

PENINSULA - Earth Day was celebrated in southwest Pacific County with hundreds of environmentally conscious citizens cleaning their local beaches this past weekend. More than 200 volunteers signed in and accepted bags to pick up what the ocean brought in and what others had left from the dunes to the high tide mark along the Peninsula's 25 miles of beach. Two overflowing dumpsters offered testament to a successful cleanup. Organizers estimated about five tons were collected off the local beaches.

Ilwaco High School Honor Society members swarmed the beach this past Thursday. Twenty-three of them made a positive impact, as didmore thantwo dozen Woodland High School students who came to celebrate Earth Day by participating in the cleanup effort. No doubt beach lovers all around offer cheers to the 50 students who came out to make a difference.

Visitors from Longview, Sequim and Portland pitched in along with locals to return the beach to its natural state. Several who came were listening to KMUN earlier that morning, heard the announcement, and swung over to help with the effort. Many enjoy the beach, value it as a wonderful resource, and wanted to offer their hand in keeping it clean.

The driving hail, near-freezing temperatures and high winds of recent cleanups are memories that stick in most volunteers' minds. The sheer will it takes to make sure the beach stays clean highlights the strength of this community's commitment to maintain pristine beaches. But no one could seem to recall a beach cleanup with better weather than this Earth Day. While the weather conditions during cleanups can make some good tall tales, this one will be fondly remembered as "the spring of 2006."

The Grass Roots Garbage Gang consists of many individual volunteers and Adopt-A-Beach groups made up of businesses, families, friends, neighbors, civic organizations, and local school students. For more information visit (www.ourbeach.org).

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