A record number of volunteers helped collect more than 100,000 pounds of trash from beaches and local watersheds during the 21st annual Coastal Cleanup Day Saturday, Sept. 25, event organizers announced.
Despite blazing heat throughout the region, some 14,131 volunteers mobilized at 65 sites throughout Los Angeles County for the clean-up event, covering 101 miles, said a spokesman for the Santa Monica-based environmental organization Heal the Bay.
Participants, including city crews, families, local businesses, faith-based organizations, schools and youth sports teams, removed 103,524 pounds of debris, according to the Heal the Bay spokesman.
“Coastal Cleanup Day 2010 was a record-breaking day of action that made an immediate impact on our oceans,” said Eveline Bravo, Heal the Bay’s beach programs manager. “But its lasting impact is teaching people what they can do in their daily lives throughout the year to combat neighborhood blight and beach pollution.”
Urban runoff from more than 200 storm drains flowing out to Santa Monica and San Pedro bays causes the vast majority of local ocean pollution, according to Heal the Bay. By removing tons of trash from beaches and inland neighborhoods, clean-up participants help enhance quality of life, protect marine animals and bolster the regional economy, the organization said.
Heal the Bay, along with the California Coastal Commission, organizes Coastal Cleanup Day in Los Angeles County. The local campaign is part of a global international event led by the Ocean Conservancy that encompasses six million volunteers in 90 countries and all 50 states in the U.S. The Guinness Book of World Records has recognized the day as the world’s biggest 24-hour volunteer event.
Heal the Bay’s campaigns have captured a cumulative 1.57 million pounds of trash since 1990. Cigarette butts, plastic bottle caps and Styrofoam fragments are the most frequently found items at clean-ups.
This year, scuba dive teams canvassed under the Santa Monica Pier and a flotilla of kayakers removed trash from Marina del Rey. Among the unusual items found this year were several crack pipes in Santa Monica and Venice and a floating bag of marshmallows at the Marina del Rey site.
Other community activities held on the day of the coastal event were, Give Back to the Beach, a food truck festival in Marina del Rey, and three electronic waste drop-off/recycling collection sites run by Coastal e-Waste and a sunrise yoga session in Santa Monica.