California Coastal Commission

California Coastal Cleanup Day Presented by the California Coastal Commission

Results with 80% of cleanup sites reporting

California Coastal Commission
California Coastal Commission

Californians have turned out by the tens of thousands to lend their hands (and their backs) in support of clean beaches and inland waterways at California Coastal Cleanup Day. They scoured shorelines and inland locations picking up trash and debris at over 800 sites and gathering hundreds of tons of trash during this morning’s three-hour event. These volunteers took part in the California Coastal Commission’s 27th Annual California Coastal Cleanup Day, part of the International Coastal Cleanup organized by Ocean Conservancy. Beach, inland waterway, and community cleanups took place up and down the California coast, from Mexico to the Oregon border, around San Francisco Bay, and at sites as far inland as Lake Tahoe and the Salton Sea.

With 80% of the cleanup sites reporting, the statewide count stands at 62,963 volunteers.

Those volunteers picked up 523,201 pounds of trash and an additional 68,543 pounds of recyclable materials, for a total of 591,743 pounds.

Data from past cleanups tell us that most (between 60-80 percent) of the debris on our beaches and shorelines comes from inland sources, traveling through storm drains or creeks out to the beaches and ocean. Rain or even something as simple as hosing down a sidewalk can wash cigarette butts, bits of styrofoam, pesticides, and oil into the storm drains and out to the ocean. The California Coastal Commission is asking all Californians to take responsibility for making sure trash goes where it belongs: securely in a trash can, recycling bin, or a hazardous waste dump when appropriate.

The Coastal Commission continued an effort, initiated during the 2010 Coastal Cleanup, to reduce the environmental footprint of the Cleanup. The Commission asked volunteers to bring their own reusable bag or bucket and reusable gloves to the event, rather than using the single-use disposable items that were available at every site. The effort was embraced last year, when over one-quarter of all Cleanup participants brought at least one reusable item from home to use during the Cleanup, and the Commission was able to use 30,000 fewer plastic trash bags during the event. Early reports from around the state show increased enthusiasm for the effort, as more and more volunteers recognize the need to reduce the amount of waste created while cleaning up waste from the beach or shoreline.

As occurs every year, some unusual items were found throughout California. The Winners of the 2011 Most Unusual Item contest are:

Coastal California: A volunteer in Sonoma County found a photo strip of a couple with the man’s face scratched out.
Inland California: A volunteer in Fresno County found a bottle filled with centipedes.

The Coastal Commission will award $50 gift certificates to the volunteers who found the unusual items.

“The success of Coastal Cleanup Day has always been a tribute to the many partnerships the Commission forms around the state to help run the event, and the incredible passion of the volunteers those organizations recruit,” said Eben Schwartz, Coastal Cleanup Day Director for the California Coastal Commission. “It doesn’t seem to matter where people clean up anymore, as we have finally reached the point where there are more cleanup locations inland than there are along the coast itself. What seems to matter now is that everyone in California has the opportunity forge a connection to the coast. By cleaning up wherever they live, and helping to stop trash where it starts, they’re caring for our coast and ocean.”

Those who were unable to make it to the beach for Coastal Cleanup Day can still participate in COASTWEEKS, a three-week celebration of our coastal resources that takes place across the United States. The Coastal Commission has a calendar of COASTWEEKS events on its website. Volunteers are encouraged to contact the California Coastal Commission for more information about COASTWEEKS. To get involved with COASTWEEKS, or to find out how you can become a Coastal Steward throughout the year, please contact the Commission at (800) COAST-4U or visit our Web site at

The statewide event is presented by the California Coastal Commission with funding from the new Whale Tail® Ecoplate. Major statewide support comes from Crystal Geyser, Oracle and Whole Foods Market. Additional support comes from Natracare, See’s Candies, Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, and The Phelps Group. California media support also comes from the San Francisco Department of the Environment, Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, and Marin County Board of Supervisors.

Special thanks to our Stewards of the Coast sponsor team supporting the Whale Tail License Plate Campaign, spearheaded by Anaheim/Orange County Visitor and Convention Bureau, and including the following additional major sponsors: the City of Dana Point and its partners the County of Orange, Dana Point Harbor Association, and Dana Point Chamber of Commerce; Santa Monica Convention and Visitors Bureau and its partners Pier Restoration Corporation, Pacific Park, and Office of Sustainability and the Environment, City of Santa Monica; SeaWorld San Diego; and Waste Management WM EarthCare.

California Coastal Cleanup Day 2011 is supported by the California Coastal Commission, California State Parks Foundation, and the Ocean Conservancy. This event is made possible by the hard work of hundreds of local non-profits and government agencies throughout the state and tens of thousands of volunteers annually.

By daryl

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