Teams of volunteers will comb through area beaches rounding up litter and debris from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, September 18th, for the 20th year of the annual statewide Coastal Cleanup effort.

Residents statewide who want to help the beautification effort can choose a local beach and join the volunteer cleanup crew the morning of the event.

Coastal environmental group Heal the Bay is the coordinator for Los Angeles County Coastal Cleanup Day sites. Local beach cleanup sites include Santa Monica Beach, Venice Beach and Dockweiler Beach in Playa del Rey. A special kayak cleanup will take place at Mothers Beach in Marina del Rey where participants will remove floating debris from the water while partaking in a morning of kayaking. Santa Monica Baykeeper will be organizing the cleanup in Marina del Rey.

On-site coordinators from Heal the Bay will provide trash bags, gloves and tally cards, in order to tally up data on what types of junk are most commonly found beachside.

The most prevalent item collected in past years has been cigarette butts.

There is no charge to participate in the cleanup activities. However, those under 18 that wish to participate must bring a liability waiver signed by a parent or guardian. Waiver forms can be found on the California Coastal Commission Web site, http://www.coastal.ca.gov

On Santa Monica Beach, cleanup sites will be stationed at Towers 4, 8, 18, 22, 27 and 1550 (north of the Santa Monica Pier).

The California Coastal Commission estimates that 48,000 people hauled out 686,000 pounds of debris statewide at last year’s Coastal Cleanup event.

The state cleanup is organized by the California Coastal Commission. But the effort is part of a much larger operation. The cleanup is California’s contribution to The Ocean Conservancy’s international beach and waterway cleanup effort that takes place throughout the United States and around the world each year on the third Saturday of September.

The International Coastal Cleanup is said to be the largest volunteer marine cleanup in the world and California’s participation makes up about one-eighth of the world’s total participation.

The cleanups serve not only an aesthetic purpose, according to the California Coastal Commission. Harmful beach debris and litter often makes its way into the ocean where it is then mistaken for food and ingested by marine wildlife.

Information, (310) 453-0395.

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