Makah organize beach debris cleanup
Peninsula Daily News
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The Blessing of the Beach ceremony at tsoo-yas beach July 6 kicked off cleanup of marine debris, said Meredith Parker, general manager of the tribe located at the junction of the Pacific Ocean and the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
“The marine debris that comes to rest on the beaches at Neah Bay during the high tides is increasing and has every appearance of coming from Japan,” Parker said.
A massive earthquake and tsunami March 11, 2011, off Tohoku, Japan, have sent tons of debris across the Pacific Ocean.
Initiating a beach cleanup is routine business for the tribe, Parker said, but members “felt strongly that before it started, the hands that would pick up the items that were likely the result of the Japanese tsunami where destruction and mourning took place be blessed.”
Pastor James Kallappa of the Neah Bay Assembly of God Church asked for a healing for the Japanese people “and for our own lands that will be touched by the tragedy,” Parker said.
She quoted Kallappa as saying: “We will pray for those who have mourned and continue to cry today because of the destruction from the tsunami in Japan.”
The tribe holds its water, lands and beaches as sacred, said Micah McCarty, Makah tribal chairman, “and as good stewards, we're going to start the process of cleanup right now and at the same time be respectful of the people who were affected by the tragedy.”
Steve Pendleton, a Makah tribal member and a team member of the Environmental Division of the tribe, provided a traditional Makah prayer song that was accompanied by the slap of the waves as the high tide rolled in.
Father Jose Juan, an intern from Madrid working through the Spanish consulate with the Makah, also offered words of prayer in his own language, Parker said.
Pendleton made arrangements for Dumpsters at both tsoo-yas and Hobuck beaches that will accommodate one for trash, the other for recyclables, and issued gloves and bags to the participants.
“As a tribe, we cannot afford to wait and will take a proactive approach by starting the process of cleanup ourselves,” Parker said.
“We needed to get this going, and we needed to do it in the right way” said Parker as she thanked those assembled before they began cleaning.
Signs and educational materials will be placed at key locations at both beaches to explain the efforts of the tribe to visitors.
Cleanup is scheduled every Friday afternoon, and the beaches at tsoo-yas and Hobuck have been prioritized for initial attack, Parker said.
“We're inviting anyone interested in helping us to come by and pick up gloves and bags,” Parker said.
“They'll be available at the Hobuck Beach Cabins and RV Park, as are the Dumpsters for disposal.”
To help with cleanup, phone Hobuck Beach Cabins and RV Park at 360-645-2339, Parker said.
Last modified: July 12. 2012 5:51PM