ECOSLO and the California Coastal Commission’s efforts resulted in 70% of cleanup sites reporting
Over 1000 volunteers cleaned up over 2500 pounds of trash and recycling at 29 sites in SLO County. Californians throughout the state had turned out by the tens of thousands to lend their hands in support of clean beaches and inland waterways at California Coastal Cleanup Day on September 15th. Beach, inland waterway, and community cleanups took place from Mexico to the Oregon border, around San Francisco Bay, and at sites as far inland as Lake Tahoe as part of the International Coastal Cleanup organized by Ocean Conservancy.
With 70% of the cleanup sites reporting, the statewide count stands at 57,442 volunteers. Those volunteers picked up 534,115 pounds of trash and an additional 105,816 pounds of recyclable materials, for a total of 639,930 pounds or 320 tons.
Data from past cleanups tell us that most (between 60?80 percent) of the debris on our beaches and shoreline comes from land?based sources, traveling through storm drains or creeks out to the beaches and ocean. This year, however, coastal volunteers were on the lookout for debris from a new source: items that may have been washed into the Pacific due to the March 2011 tsunami in Japan. As of this release, there have been 3 reports of potential tsunami debris found at 2 locations in California. We categorize it as “potential” tsunami debris because it meets certain criteria, but has not been confirmed to have come from the tsunami.
Volunteers also picked up a number of “unusual” items during this year’s cleanup (as always!). The Winners of the 2012 Most Unusual Item contest are:
From Coastal California a volunteer at Kehoe Beach in Marin County found an old, degraded love letter. From inland California a volunteer in Redding (Shasta County) found a concrete statue of a rabbit.
ECOSLO and The Coastal Commission continued an effort, initiated during the 2010 Coastal Cleanup, to reduce the environmental footprint of the three-hour event. Volunteers were asked to bring their own reusable bag or bucket and reusable gloves to the event, rather than using the single?use disposable items that were available at every site. Thanks to this effort, the Commission was able to order 30% fewer trash bags for this year’s cleanup, and early reports indicate that the popularity of the effort is growing. The latest reports show that 5,222 volunteers brought at least one reusable item from home for use during this year’s Cleanup.
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. 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 Web site at www.coast4u.org.