Caring for the Environment: Coastal Cleanup Day 9/17

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Image by Mike19145 via Flickr Creative Commons license
Image by Mike19145 via Flickr Creative Commons license

It’s that time of the year again. Time to head to the beaches, coastlines, waterways and rivers in your local area and join up with the hundreds of thousands of others around the world for International Coastal Cleanup Day. While I really think this particular event should really be a regular occurrence or actually never needed at all, it is something each one of us can do to help the environment by cleaning it up. It’s a simple task really…pick up the trash others have carelessly or thoughtlessly left behind, in order to restore the coast to more of its natural beauty.

Last year, on International Coastal Cleanup Day, approximately 800,000 people volunteered to help clean up more than 25,000 miles of coastline around the world. Due to their efforts  18 million pounds of trash was collected in total. According to Ocean Conservancy, the top  items found and cleaned up were:

  • Over two million cigarette butts
  • Over one million plastic beverage bottles
  • Close to 900,000 food wrappers
  • 860,000+ plastic bottle caps
  • Almost 440,000 plastic straws
  • 420,000+ other plastic bags
  • Over 400,000 glass beverage bottles
  • Over 400,000 plastic grocery bags
  • 381,000+ metal bottle caps
  • 351,000+ plastic lids

Where to Go in Southern California

Here in Southern California, volunteers can team up with Heal the Bay to help clean up our local beaches, rivers, creeks, streams and more. It doesn’t matter where you live, as Heal the Bay currently has more than 50 different cleanup sites from the beaches up and down the So Cal coastline all the way into Pasadena. Go to the Heal the Bay website and register to be part of this year’s International Coastal Cleanup Day. The goal is simple: zero waste.

Buried “Gold” For a Few Lucky Participants

For those who may need a little more incentive, the Daily Breeze is reporting Heal the Bay plans to bury gold-painted replica sea stars in no less than five “mystery locations” from Malibu to San Pedro. Those who find the buried treasure sea stars can turn them in onsite in exchange for $50+ gift cards to places like Amazon or REI.

Underwater Coastal Cleanup Dive

Divers are getting in on the action too with the annual Santa Monica Pier Underwater Cleanup Dive, hosted in part by the Eco Dive Center. That’s right, divers get a chance to dive at the famous Santa Monica Pier (a privilege granted only once a year on Coastal Cleanup Day).

Everyone Should Take the Pledge

Even if you can’t make it out to a local cleanup site, take the pledge to fight trash for a healthy ocean. It’s the very least each one of us can do to protect our coastlines, the ocean and our environment.

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