Volunteers really took out the trash Saturday for Coastal Cleanup Day! With 100% of the sites reporting, 1,267 volunteers collected more than 3,840 pounds of trash and 1,270 pounds of recyclables from 29 sites in Santa Barbara County. The grand total was 5,110 pounds of debris!
Some of the entrants for weirdest item found included a 140 pound car axel, two pregnancy tests, a buried full size raft and a wooden “vampire stake”. “It is amazing the stuff people bring to the beach these days,” said Jeff Simeon, Cleanup coordinator for the County of Santa Barbara. “Last year we collected over 9,900 cigarette butts, 2,500 food wrappers and 1,500 bottle caps!”
Haskell’s Beach and Blosser Basin had especially hard working volunteers. At Haskell’s Beach 35 volunteers collected 569 pounds, which is 16.3 pounds per person! Haskell’s in Goleta is where they found the car axel. There were 1,490 pounds of debris collected in only three hours at Blosser Basin in Santa Maria by 50 volunteers. That is a whopping 29.8 pounds per person!
Many volunteers brought their own reusable bags or buckets for trash and their own work gloves in an effort to generate less waste at the cleanup. These efforts saved an estimated 500 bags, which will be used for other beach and creek cleanups throughout the year.
“The County of Santa Barbara Public Works Department would like to thank all the hardworking volunteers for contributing so much to this year’s Coastal Cleanup Day,” said Leslie Wells of the Resource Recovery & Waste Management Division. Coordinated by the County, the event is supported by the Cities of Carpinteria, Goleta, Santa Barbara and Santa Maria. The cleanup is made possible by the hard work and services provided by local businesses, non-profits and community members who act as beach and creek captains.
The local cleanup is part of California Coastal Cleanup Day, presented by the California Coastal Commission, and International Coastal Cleanup Day organized by the Ocean Conservancy.
In 1986, two women, one in Texas and one in Oregon, became concerned about debris on our ocean’s shorelines. This was the start of the Ocean Conservancy’s beach cleanups which has grown to become an international event. This year in California alone more than 73,300 volunteers collected over 751,000 pounds of debris from more than 800 sites statewide.
Volunteers are crucial to the world’s largest one-day clean-up effort. Not only do they 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 direct policy and funding to preserve our oceans, rivers and lakes.