The regional environmental group Heal the Bay is seeking more than 11,000 citizen volunteers to help remove tons of trash at nearly 70 sites in Los Angeles County as part of its annual Coastal Cleanup Day Saturday, September 20th.

Santa Monica-based Heal the Bay, the county coordinator for the international cleanup, is sending out a call to volunteers of all ages to join the effort to remove unsightly and dangerous debris from beaches, waterways, streets, parks and other public spaces.

During the three-hour event, Heal the Bay members plan to educate volunteers about the interdependent link between urban areas and the ocean and steps they can take in their daily lives to reduce pollution in local watersheds.

Last year, Heal the Bay and volunteers collected 83,434 pounds of trash in L.A. County in just three hours. Some of the unique finds included a submerged bridal gown and an air gun.

“Coastal Cleanup Day is about building community pride,” said Eveline Bravo, Heal the Bay’s manager of beach programs. “We are helping Los Angeles County residents to take ownership of their watershed and learn to appreciate what the waterways have to offer us.”

The organization uses this event to stress that inland communities have a direct effect on the coastal environment and a vested interest in the health of Southern California watersheds. Participants can take immediate satisfaction in beautifying their neighborhoods, but they also feel empowered by protecting the marine environment downstream, Heal the Bay officials said.

“Whether at a soft bottom stream in the Valley, a rock bed in the heart of L.A., or a sandy beach on the coast, on Coastal Cleanup Day everyone will be able to understand the gift of clean water and why it is so important to our health and economic well being,” says Bravo.

Volunteers of all backgrounds are welcome and no previous experience is required. Supplies, refreshments and watershed education will be provided during the program, which is considered mildly strenuous.

Potential participants can reserve by calling Heal the Bay (310) 451-1500 ext. 153. To register and find a cleanup location, www.healthebay.org/ccd/.

Volunteers are asked to bring sunscreen, a wide-brimmed hat and a reusable water bottle.

Everyone must sign a liability waiver form (available at healthebay.org or at the event).

Participants under the age of 18 who will not have a parent or guardian present must bring a signed waiver.

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