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'CleanupSEA' connects volunteers to coordinate street, beach cleanups

The goal is to keep cleaner streets across Seattle and prevent trash from making its way into Puget Sound.

SEATTLE — A group of volunteers spent May Day cleaning up trash in West Seattle, part of community group "CleanupSEA's" Battle of the Junctions event. 

"We care a lot about the ocean and we're in a very unique place here in Seattle because so much of what we drop, it doesn't just stay on land, it goes into the sea, it goes down the drains- and we have an extra responsibility, really," said CleanupSEA's Lori Kothe. 

The group started after a number of individuals and groups realized they were all interested in cleaning up Alki Beach and surrounding areas, wanting to maximize impact and minimize overlap. 

"It was really a coming together of people who were already doing little cleanups, caring and connecting with their community and the environment," Kothe said.

Erik Bell had been cleaning up Alki Beach for about eight years with his brother, and would run into other cleanup groups. They combined their shared mission, hosting group meet-ups and partnering with the city's "Adopt a Spot" program to expand their reach. 

"I'll be driving around West Seattle and just see a mess and at first sight you kind of feel hopeless and think, that looks like a huge mess, but I'll pull over, grab a pickup stick and it'll be done in 10 minutes," Bell said. 

In addition, Bell says one easy thing everyone can do to prevent extra litter is to line their trash and close bags tightly, so it doesn't fall out when loaded onto trash trucks.