On Saturday, September 17, more than 2,500 volunteers cleaned up Orange County parks, beaches, and creeks, resulting in over 11,000 pounds of trash prevented from impacting our ocean. These astonishing numbers will only increase as more cleanup sites report their data. Orange County Coastkeeper coordinated these cleanup sites as a part of California Coastal Cleanup Day, a statewide day of action to address marine debris.
In addition to the 40+ cleanup sites around Orange County, a culminating event was held at Huntington State Beach to celebrate the protection of our environment. In addition to a massive cleanup with over 275 volunteers, this cornerstone event featured a “Trash Castle,” an art installation made entirely from reclaimed materials collected from local waterways! Community leaders and elected officials, including California State Senator Dave Min, joined the event to lend a hand.
“No matter where you live in Orange County, every one of us has a role to play in protecting our coastline and waterways from pollutants,” said Senator Dave Min (D-Irvine). “As we approach the one-year anniversary of the Orange County oil spill, this day of service is a vivid reminder that we share an obligation to care for our planet and pay it forward for future generations. Thank you to all the partners at the state and local levels who teamed up to bring California Coastal Cleanup Day to over 40 sites across Orange County.”
Orange County waterways collect trash from inland communities via the county’s rivers and storm drains. If not intercepted, the pollution impacts our oceans and shorelines. Community cleanups are one of the best ways for the public to help prevent this debris from polluting the sea and harming marine wildlife.
“Our coastal and inland cleanups are an unfortunate necessity to prevent litter from becoming marine debris and impacting wildlife and, as we’re learning, ourselves,” said Suzanne Welsh, Volunteer Coordinator for Orange County Coastkeeper. “It’s easy to be unaware of the magnitude of our plastics problem until you go to your first cleanup and see the hundreds of pounds of trash collected in a single day. This is often people’s first step into becoming more environmentally conscious. We love being able to use events like this to not only highlight our environmental problems but also to be able to educate folks about solutions in their community!”
This statewide event is organized every September by the California Coastal Commission. Orange County Coastkeeper is the regional coordinator for Orange County, where in addition to running their own cleanup event, they also help distribute supplies and provide promotional support. This statewide event is part of the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup, the largest volunteer event on the planet.
This year’s Orange County Coastal Cleanup Day corporate sponsors include Caltrans, Panasonic, the City of La Habra, and the Metropolitan Water District of Orange County.
MOST UNUSUAL ITEMS PICKED UP
- Chromebook laptop
- Pizza oven
- Boogie board