Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

By Judy Shils
CalCoastalCommsn 

Lucky Fish Returned to Creeks on California's 32nd Annual Coastal Cleanup Day

Tens of Thousands of Volunteers Help Pick Up Litter (while Marine Animals Pack their Bags) at 32nd Annual California Coastal Cleanup Day

 

September 21, 2016

Tens of Thousands of Volunteers Help Pick Up Litter (while Marine Animals Pack their Bags) at 32nd Annual California Coastal Cleanup Day

Presented by the California Coastal Commission Results with 70% of cleanup sites reporting

San Francisco - Tens of thousands of Californians have turned out to take part in the 32nd California Coastal Cleanup Day, the state's largest annual volunteer event, organized by the California Coastal Commission.

They gathered hundreds of tons of trash at beaches and inland waterways, cleaning up over 900 sites in 54 of California's 58 counties, the largest collection of sites in the cleanup's history. Cleanups took place up and down the coast, from the Oregon to Mexico border and as far inland as Lake Tahoe. California's event is part of the International Coastal Cleanup organized by Ocean Conservancy.

With 70% of the cleanup sites reporting, the statewide count stands at 51,895 volunteers.

Those volunteers picked up 514,844 pounds of trash, and an additional 49,458 pounds of recyclable materials, for a total of 564,302 pounds or 278 tons.

This year the Coastal Commission highlighted the problem of cigarette butt litter to raise awareness of the harm they pose to the environment and motivate proper disposal. Forty percent of all the debris picked up today will likely be cigarette filters, according to data from past cleanups. These filters, which are made of a form of plastic called cellulose acetate, do not biodegrade and can leach toxic chemicals, including dozens of known carcinogens, into the environment for up to ten years. No matter where a cigarette butt may be littered, it stands a good chance of ending up as debris along the coast. Up to 80 percent of the trash on the California coast originates on land and travels to the ocean through storm drains and creeks.

Marine Animals Pack their Bags:

Every-day debris and plastic items weren't the only things found on Coastal Cleanup Day. Volunteers also picked up a number of "unusual" items during this year's cleanup. The Winners of the 2016 Most Unusual Item contest are:

Northern California: A backpack full of crabs found at Tunitas Creek Beach in Half Moon Bay.

Southern California: A live fish in a suitcase filled with water found in San Diego County. The fish was returned to the creek to live another day.

Every-day debris and plastic items weren't the only things found on Coastal Cleanup Day. Volunteers also picked up a number of "unusual" items during this year's cleanup. The Winners of the 2016 Most Unusual Item contest are: Northern California: A backpack full of crabs found at Tunitas Creek Beach in Half Moon Bay. Southern California: A live fish in a suitcase filled with water found in San Diego County. The fish was returned to the creek to live another day.

The Coastal Commission also continued an effort, initiated during the 2010 Coastal Cleanup, to reduce the event's environmental footprint. The commission asked volunteers to bring their own reusable bag or bucket and reusable gloves to the event, rather than using the single-use disposable plastic items available at every site. In addition, reusable buckets were available at a number of cleanup sites. As a result, the commission was able to order almost 150,000 fewer trash bags over the past three years. The latest reports show that 16813 volunteers brought at least one reusable item from home for use during this year's cleanup.

Coastal Cleanup Day could not happen without the support of public and corporate partners . Sponsors help to fund the event and often provide additional benefits. Lead sponsor Crystal Geyser Natural Alpine Spring Water donated water for volunteers, Rubio's offered all volunteers coupons for free tacos, and other long-time sponsors like Oracle provided volunteer support. Along with the 60+ non-profit and local government organizations that help organize and run the cleanups around the state, the program's strong team of partners helped make the 2016 cleanup another huge success.

Those who were unable to make it to the beach for Coastal Cleanup Day can still participate in COASTWEEKS, a three-week celebration of our coastal resources that takes place across the United States. The Coastal Commission has a calendar of COASTWEEKS events on its website. To get involved with COASTWEEKS, or to find out how you can become a Coastal Steward throughout the year, please contact the Commission at (800) COAST-4U or visit our website at http://www.coast4u.org.

 

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