California Coastal Commission announces coastal cleanup month focused on working close to home
This year, cleaning California's coast will start at your front door. The California Coastal Commission has announced that the 36th annual California Coastal Cleanup will take place throughout the entire month of September, with an emphasis each Saturday of the month. From 9 a.m.to noon on each Saturday in September, Californians will help clean the coast by sweeping through their own neighborhoods and local parks, creeks, streams, rivers and the coast (where accessible) to help prevent single-use plastic items and other litter from polluting the environment and flowing into the ocean.
Due to the ongoing pandemic, Coastal Cleanup organizers across the state recognized that hosting traditional cleanup "sites" with large gatherings of volunteers would not be safe this year. However, Californians can honor the spirit and intention of the cleanup while staying close to home and following public health guidelines. Trash in the streets will become beach and ocean pollution once the rains begin. Cleaning neighborhoods and local natural areas provides a valuable service to the coast and our communities alike.
"The idea behind the cleanup this year is pretty simple actually: everything in California flows downhill to the coast," said the Commission's Executive Director Jack Ainsworth. "We may not be able to visit or gather at the cleanup sites that our volunteers have taken such good care of over these many years, but that doesn't mean we can't still have a positive impact on the health of the coast and ocean."
The annual cleanup and its 1.6 million volunteers have removed over 26 million pounds of trash over the past three decades in what has become the largest and one of the longest running annual volunteer events in the state. Last year alone, over 74,000 volunteers cleared more than 800,000 pounds of trash from shorelines and waterways — all in a matter of hours.
People interested in participating in this year’s cleanup are asked to download and use the Clean Swell data collection app in order to record their finds and be counted towards the volunteer and trash totals, or to fill out and submit a paper data card, available in both English and Spanish.
The event is emphasizing cleanups on the four Saturdays in September, as a way for neighbors to see one another conducting cleanups at the same time and bring a sense of community to the cleanup effort, which many people are missing during these difficult times. However, neighborhood cleanups taking place anytime throughout the month of September can count towards the overall cleanup.
To find out how to join the effort, visit www.coastalcleanupday.org. Complete guidelines for conducting a neighborhood cleanup, along with other resources to help plan and prepare, are available there, as well as the websites of local coordinators around the state. Check the website for updates and share your cleanup experience on social media using the hashtags #coastalcleanupday and #protectyourhappyplace. California Coastal Cleanup Day is part of the International Coastal Cleanup, the world's largest volunteer event.