The inaugural Lake Tahoe Litter Summit, organized by the non-profit Clean Up The Lake , successfully convened over 50 regional leaders committed to tackling the basin’s litter problem. This unique event held on May 18th, 2023, at the Thunderbird Lodge on the shores of Lake Tahoe, marked a significant milestone in addressing the litter issue in the region.
Clean Up The Lake’s team, having collected over 25,000 lbs of litter during their 72-mile cleanup of Lake Tahoe, decided to escalate their litter mitigation and prevention efforts in the Tahoe basin. They initiated this endeavor by gathering key stakeholders to share data and outcomes at this novel environmental summit. The non-profit’s staff and consulting scientist, Dr. Zoe Harrold, shared an in-depth analysis of their data on the 25,000+ pounds of litter retrieved during their SCUBA cleanup last year.
“I couldn’t be any more excited to see our organization taking the results of Lake Tahoe’s 72-mile cleanup and putting this data in the hands of government and regional leaders who can work with our team to create significant change,” says Sadye Easler, Programs Director for Clean Up The Lake.
The summit attracted a diverse group of attendees and panelists, including federal, state, and local government officials, environmental organizations, state parks, scientists, tourism officials, and concerned citizens.
“The first annual Lake Tahoe Litter Summit was a huge success,” said Jesse Patterson, Chief Strategy Officer for the League to Save Lake Tahoe. “It was very encouraging to see so many important players at Lake Tahoe prioritize the litter issue and commit time and resources to this effort. The conversations and ideas coming out of the first Lake Tahoe Litter Summit lay the groundwork for the next steps to be taken right now.”
The summit showcased advanced screenings of an upcoming environmental documentary film titled “72 MILES”, slated for release in early 2024. It also included presentations on litter mitigation efforts by various stakeholders, such as Visit Lake Tahoe, TRPA, NV State Parks, Dr. Monica Arienzo, who discovered microplastics in Lake Tahoe in 2018, and The League to Save Lake Tahoe (also known as Keep Tahoe Blue).
The event emphasized the importance of using knowledge gained from large-scale clean-ups to effect more significant environmental change. The focus was not only on rectifying past mistakes but also on taking concerted action to prevent future litter issues.