Saturday Coastal Cleanup Day is a Huge Success
Santa Barbara: The largest volunteer cleanup event in Santa Barbara County had another successful year. Over 1,191 volunteers came together at over 29 separate sites from Rincon Beach Park to Guadalupe Dunes to do their part to clean up our local beaches, rivers, creeks and parks. Over 5,323 pounds of trash and 1,276 pounds of recyclables were collected and prevented from entering our ocean and waterways. A total 6,599 pounds of waste was removed and 39 miles were cleaned.
While the positive impact to our local coastline and inland waters is tremendous, it’s even more impressive when you consider that we are part of a much larger statewide and international event. Beginning in 1984, with one concerned resident organizing the first coastal cleanup on the Oregon Coast, followed in 1985 by the first California Coastal Cleanup Day; it has since grown to become the largest single-day volunteer effort in the world.
Now, every year on the third Saturday in September, people from across the globe join together to take part in International Coastal Cleanup Day.
This year’s local event was organized by Explore Ecology and Project Clean Water with assistance from the Cities of Goleta and Santa Barbara. Over 250 volunteers from United Way of Santa Barbara County’s Day of Caring helped clean up at four sites.The California Coastal Commission organizes the statewide event. The international event is organized by the Ocean Conservancy.
With 75% of the cleanup sites reporting, California had 54,124 volunteers who picked up 576,571 pounds of trash and an additional 109,494 pounds of recyclable materials, for a total of 686,065 pounds or 343 tons.That’s a lot of garbage.
This tremendous cleanup effort would not be possible without the hard work and services provided by local businesses, organizations and community members who act as site captains and by the many community members who volunteer their time and labor. Their efforts not only help improve the health of the ocean and its wildlife, but the data collected provides important information regarding the types, quantity and location of marine debris. This data is analyzed by the Ocean Conservancy and distributed to governments and organizations throughout the world in the hopes that it will help preserve our oceans, rivers and lakes.
Next year’s Coastal Cleanup Day is scheduled for Saturday, September 19th, 2015. Stay tuned for details on the County’s Project Clean Water website, www.sbprojectcleanwater.org.