Billed as the world’s largest single-day volunteer event, the 24th annual Coastal Cleanup Day, will be held at local sites from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Sept. 21.
Coastal Cleanup Day provides Southern California residents with the chance to beautify their neighborhood, local waters or beach, and it’s also a chance to band together and enjoy the outdoors, say representatives of Heal the Bay.
Since 1990, the Santa Monica-based environmental organization, one of the beach cleanup’s primary organizers, has mobilized hundreds of thousands of volunteers for the Los Angeles County event. This year’s effort will feature volunteers walking, kayaking, paddle boarding and SCUBA diving to remove debris from local beaches, rivers, parks, school campuses and streets.
Last year in California, 62,668 volunteers removed 728,289 pounds of trash and 143,291 pounds of recyclable waste, according to Heal the Bay.
Approximately 50 coastal and inland cleanup sites will be managed this year, spanning close to 1,500 square miles.
As part of a global effort, Coastal Cleanup Day volunteers around the world last year collected two million cigarette butts, enough to fill approximately 94,000 packs of cigarettes, according to the Ocean Conservancy, which spearheads the worldwide event each year. Cigarettes continue as the No. 1 debris item found by volunteers on Coastal Cleanup Day.
In Los Angeles last year, more than 9,000 volunteers kept nearly 20 tons of debris from heading to the ocean, Heal the Bay officials said.
This year’s Coastal Cleanup Day highlights include a stand-up paddleboard clinic from 11a.m. until 2 p.m. and dory race at the Santa Monica Pier scheduled to begin at noon after the cleanup, sponsored by LandShark Lager. Cleanup participants will also be eligible for giveaways of customized stand-up paddleboards and other items, as well as drink and food specials at Rusty’s on the Pier.
The first 100 volunteers at city of Los Angeles sites will receive a free reusable bag to help prepare for the single use bag ban that goes into effect this winter.
SCUBA-certified divers will get a chance to clear underwater debris at dive sites at Santa Monica Pier. Kayakers are also welcome to join the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Foundation for a kayak cleanup in Marina del Rey from 9 a.m. to noon. Last year, the kayak event drew 160 volunteers who collected 158 pounds of trash and 33 pounds of recyclables.
At the Santa Monica Pier (Tower 1550), Naam Yoga will additionally organize a human peace circle at 8:30 a.m. before the cleanup begins at 9 a.m.
No special training or equipment is required to take part in the cleanup. Heal the Bay encourages volunteers to bring their own buckets, reusable bags and gloves to pick up trash.
An online map of all cleanup sites with registration information can be found at