Thousands of volunteers are planning to join together on Los Angeles County beaches for the 23rd annual Coastal Cleanup Day from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Sept. 15.
This year’s effort will feature volunteers kayaking, mountain biking and scuba diving to remove debris from local beaches, rivers, parks and streets.
Approximately 60 coastal and inland cleanup sites, including Santa Monica, Playa del Rey and Marina del Rey will be manned, spanning close to 100 square miles, according to the Santa Monica-based environmental organization Heal the Bay.
The local volunteer campaign is part of a global effort in which volunteers around the world collect food packaging and other debris from beach areas.
In Los Angeles last year, more than 11,000 volunteers removed 44,000 pounds of debris. An estimated 80 percent of Los Angeles litter that ends up in the ocean starts out on land, poisoning marine life, spoiling water quality and public health as it wreaks havoc on the ecosystem and local economies, said a Heal the Bay spokesperson.
This year’s Coastal Cleanup Day highlights include a cleanup at the historic African-American Bay Street Beach in Santa Monica, sometimes known as the “Inkwell.” The city beach site was a popular hangout for African-Americans in the county of Los Angeles from the 1920s to the early 1960s, long after racial restrictions on public beaches were invalidated in 1927.
Santa Monica Conservancy docents will educate volunteers about the history of the site. The first 100 people who volunteer at this site will receive a free ticket to the Jazz for the Environment Concert at EarthFest L.A. 2012 at 2 p.m. at West Los Angeles College in Culver City.
SCUBA-certified divers will get a chance to clear underwater debris at dive sites at Leo Carrillo State Beach, Redondo Beach and the Santa Monica and Malibu piers. Kayakers can also take part in a Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission cleanup in Marina del Rey, with registration required.
Heal the Bay and National Geographic also presented Coastal Cleanup Education Day Sept. 11 at the Santa Monica Pier, where hundreds of second to fifth graders from county Title I schools participated in interactive learning games and learned about protecting the environment.
Coastal Cleanup Day volunteers can be of all ages and physical abilities. Volunteers are encouraged to bring their own buckets, reusable bags and gloves to pick up trash.