During the 34th Annual Coastal Cleanup Day, hosted by ECOSLO, on September 15, nearly 5,700 pounds of trash was picked up by 1,300 dedicated volunteers. Approximately ten of the thirty-six cleanup sites were inland locations. Because all storm drains and creeks lead to the ocean, all of the trash collected will never enter our oceans. The individual item results have been tallied and the top 10 items collected throughout SLO County are:
- Cigarette Butts 15,360
- Food Wrappers 6,091
- Pieces of Plastic 5,995
- Pieces of Glass 2,866
- Plastic Bottle Caps 1,886
- Metal Bottle Caps 1,531
- Pieces of Styrofoam 1,423
- Plastic Beverage Bottles 1,232
- Straws/Stirrers 1,187
- Glass Beverage Bottles 1,087
This year is practically a mirror image of last year’s top 10 most collected items. Cigarette butts typically account for about 30% of the itemized trash. This year it made up 32% of the itemized trash, last year it made up 27%.
The Top 5 reporting sites for pounds of trash were:
- *New location* Arroyo Grande Creek (at 22nd St. & River Ave, Oceano): 785 lbs.
- Pirates Cove: 779 lbs. (down ~200 lbs. from last year)
- Morro Strand South at Hwy 41: 455 lbs.
- Oceano Dunes at Pier Ave: 453 lbs. (about the same lbs. as last year)
- Arroyo Grande Creek (volunteers met at Central Coast Salmon Enhancement and dispersed to various locations in Arroyo Grande): 352 lbs.
The cleanest site (calculated by total pounds of trash divided by number of volunteers) was Montaña de Oro at Spooner’s Cove, with just 0.3 lbs. of trash picked up per volunteer. The highest percentage of trash picked up was at one of the new cleanup sites hosted by Los Padres ForestWatch, West Cuesta Ridge Trailhead, was calculated to be 25 lbs. per volunteer.
Overall, many of the site captains and volunteers stated there seemed to be less trash at many of the locations compared to in prior Coastal Cleanup Days. Even though six cleanup sites were added this year, the data shows 800 lbs. less trash was picked up this year to 2016’s trash of 6,500 lbs. and 2017 6,400 lbs.
The annual event, hosted by ECOSLO for the past 14 years, is part of the statewide and international Coastal Cleanup Day efforts, organized by the California Coastal Commission and Ocean Conservancy, respectively.
ECOSLO is committed to protecting and enhancing SLO County’s natural environment through education, advocacy, and action. Coastal Cleanup Day is part of its effort to raise public awareness of marine and coastal resources and promote environmental stewardship.