California’s Coastal Cleanup Day

By Shaylea Stark
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Marisol Figueroa, CSUMB senior turning in the trash she collected during the beach cleanup. Photo by Shaylea Stark.

On Sept. 15 from 9 a.m. – noon, California’s annual Coastal Cleanup Day spanned dozens of beaches along the central coast. Save Our Shores is a nonprofit marine conservation group dedicated to caring for and helping California’s central coast. Save Our Shores collaborated with smaller organizations that are dedicated to helping the environment to put on this year’s cleanup day.

These widespread cleanups help the environment by including the public and educating them on the problems our oceans and other waterways face, regarding plastic and other trash. Liz Hoadley from Camp Sea Lab, who helped to sign in volunteers, spoke about how her organization “cleans up marine debris every week, but there is always more” and that “people look out for big debris but often overlook the microplastics.”

Supplies given to each participant at the California Coastal Cleanup day at Del Monte Beach. Photo by Shaylea Stark.

At Del Monte Beach, just one of the many beaches, there were approximately 60 people helping to pick up any trash they encountered. When asked why it was important to come out and participate in these types of events, Justo Perez said, “It is instinct to come out and clean up. I feel a sense of responsibility to my home, because it is my home.”

“Teaching the next generation is also very important which is why I brought my daughter out today,” Perez continued. When participating in this type of event, everyone receives a trash bag and a data sheet to log the specific debris they find. This helps scientists analyze the various forms of trash that make their way into the ocean from landfills and beaches.

Last year, approximately 1,685,422 food wrappers, 940,170 plastic beverage bottles, 555,007 straws, stirrers and various other debris were collected internationally on Coastal Cleanup Day. The data sheet also has a section for your most interesting find of the day- for example, 40 toilets, a rubber chicken and a lava lamp were collected last year.

Removing litter from the environment is very important to keeping habitats and the organisms that live in them safe and healthy. If you are interested in participating in a cleanup event, more information can be found in the events calendar on saveourshores.org.

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