With 93% of the sites reporting, 1157 volunteers collected more than 5,138 pounds of trash and 1,042 pounds of recyclables from 29 sites from Rincon Beach Park to Guadalupe Dunes in Santa Barbara County.
Some strange items were dug up again this year. A mattress and boxspring at different sites, an outboard boat engine, a forty pound chunk of lead, VHS tapes and a buried chain link fence were all found at local sites. “Who really needs that at the beach?” said Jeff Simeon, cleanup coordinator for the County of Santa Barbara. “Conventional trash at the beach is shocking too. Last year volunteers collected over 8,000 cigarette butts, 2,400 food wrappers and 780 plastic bags! This year at East Beach alone over 1,250 cigarette butts and 234 plastic bags were found.”
Two sites that really needed help this year were Isla Vista Beaches and Lake Los Carneros. In Isla Vista and at UCSB, 78 volunteers collected 1631 pounds, or 21 pounds per person! There were approximately 300 pounds of ivy removed for habitat restoration at Lake Los Carneros by 11 volunteers for a whopping 27 pounds per person in only three hours!
“This event uses hundreds of bags and single use gloves, but we don’t have to make that waste.” said Simeon. “Over 390 volunteers brought their own reusable buckets or bags for trash and gloves to clean up with. This helped us to save hundreds of bags and gloves for future cleanup events.”
“It’s terrific seeing our community step up to keep our beaches, creeks and lakes clean.” said Simeon, who coordinates the event for the County’s Public Works Department. The event is supported by partnerships with the Cities of Carpinteria, Goleta and Santa Barbara, the State Parks and County Parks Deptartment. The cleanup is made possible by the hard work and services provided by local businesses, such as MarBorg and Waste Management, local non-profits and community members who act as beach and creek captains. “We would like to thank everyone who makes this great event possible.”
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 grew into the international Coastal Cleanup Day. Last year in California alone, over 82,500 volunteers removed more than 1.2 million pounds of trash and recyclables from our beaches, lakes, and waterways.
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.