Cleaning up Ketchikan
By Jerry Cegelske
April 20, 2015
In March, I was contacted by the Ketchikan Wellness Coalition wanting to know where they could pick up a lot of cigarette butts. It is unfortunate that I could come up with an immediate answer- the Ketchikan Airport parking lots. At the end of March, the Coalition worked on cleaning up trash and cigarette butts from the parking lots, filling one of the yellow ALPAR bags.
On April 3rd, the Ketchikan High School Track and Field squad members worked on cleaning up Tongass from Carlanna Lake Road to the airport parking lot. The area looks much nicer due to their work.
The Society of American Foresters was active in cleaning up Mile 6 of the N. Tongass Highway as they frequently do throughout the year.
Cleanup week is scheduled from April 18-25, 2015 for pickup and disposal of household items within the City. Last year, the City took in almost 1,000,000 pounds of household material during the week. Most people don’t need to wait for the one week a year to dispose of their trash as they have already paid the disposal fees and won’t be charged any more for disposal of most household material and trash.
Two plaques were given to the U.S. Coast Guard on Monday, April 6th. Commander Jack Jackson and ELC4 Michael Wills each received a plaque recognizing the Coast Guards efforts in making Ketchikan a better place to live. Base groups have collected over 70,000 pounds of trash and solid waste that they transported to the landfill, most of it in their private vehicles at no expense to the residents of Ketchikan. The weight listed does not count the material that was sent to be recycled, such as batteries, engine blocks and other car parts.
The crew from the Naushon has cleaned up the breakwaters around town and other Coast Guard groups have cleaned up Rotary Beach. The Electronics Support shop or ESD has been very active in the cleanup efforts since the 2005 Revilla Road Trash Tour on April 16th. It has been amazing to see the amount of material they collect every year, unfortunately it is with the help of Ketchikan residents dumping the waste instead of taking it to the landfill. In 2013, they cleaned up an area across from Ward Lake on Revilla Road where the dog park is now. Within a month appliances, a fuel tank, and other material was dumped there, requiring them to clean the area in 2014.
As ELC4 Michael Wills from the ESD stated to the Assembly on April 6th, each year we try to collect more material than we did the last year, but we hope that the number go down, and that the people of Ketchikan no longer dump the material around the Borough. Last year, they collected 14,500 pounds that they took to the landfill, with assorted car parts, batteries and other material to be recycled. This year they will again be working to clean up Ketchikan on Earth Day, April 22, 2015. If you see them tell them thanks for their hard work.
Ketchikan benefits greatly as a tourist destination and a cruise ship port. What the tourists see can have a great effect on their attitude about the town. When they notice the trash about town, they will mention it to others when they tell about their cruise to Alaska or their visit to Ketchikan, thus affecting future visits by others.
In five years, the students at the Ketchikan High School and Revilla High School have collected over 70,000 pounds of trash, the Coast Guard probably over 100,000 pounds of heavy solid waste in their various efforts. These groups and the others that have worked to make Ketchikan cleaner and safer to live deserve our thanks.
Received April 08, 2015 - Published April 20, 2015
Ketchikan High School students picking up litter in 2014
U. S. Coast Guard personnel preparing a car for removal
U.S. Coast Guard personnel defining the problems or vehicle removal
A fuel tank and appliances dumped by the dog park in 2014 a month after the area had been cleaned by the Coast Guard
Ketchikan High school track and field squad members cleaning up Tongass by the Bailey power plant
A bag of cigarette butts and trash picked up by the Ketchikan Wellness Coalition
Rotary Beach cleanup by the Coast Guard
The crew from the Naushon picking trash from Ketchikan breakwaters
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