Sept. 1 marked the beginning of Coastal Cleanup Month in California, featuring numerous cleanup events throughout the state through the end of the month.
The highlight of the cleanup efforts will be the 39th annual California Coastal Cleanup Day on Sept. 23, says a press release from the California Coastal Commission.
More than 50,000 volunteers are expected to gather at locations across California during the month, where they will help remove hundreds of tons of trash from beaches, creeks, rivers, lakes and neighborhoods.
In South Valley, cleanup efforts are being organized on Sept. 23 at Accelerated Achievement Academy in San Benito County; 7371 Hanna St. in Gilroy; and a number of locations in Morgan Hill. For more details on the Cleanup Day sites, including how to register and other information, visit tinyurl.com/4rk5x3ya.
The annual cleanup day has, in fact, become the state’s largest volunteer event, the release continues. Since 1985, more than 1.7 million volunteers have helped remove more than 26 million pounds of trash from California’s beaches and inland shorelines. The event, which is part of the International Coastal Cleanup—organized by the Ocean Conservancy—is an important opportunity for people to help remove plastic pollution from the environment before the winter rains arrive and wash much of that debris out to the ocean through stormwater systems, creeks, and rivers.
In 2020, the Coastal Commission introduced a self-guided cleanup model in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Californians cleaned their neighborhoods, parks and local natural areas to help prevent the flow of trash from the streets to the ocean, according to the commission.
While 2023 marks the return to full capacity cleanup sites on the traditional single-day event on Sept. 23, the commission continues to encourage cleanups throughout the month so the event is accessible for those that may not be available on that date.
In 2022, more than 38,000 volunteers turned out over the course of September, including at over 500 cleanup sites on Sept. 17. Together they removed more than 300,000 pounds of trash and recyclables, covering well over 3,000 miles of California’s shorelines—all in a matter of hours.
“For generations, Californians have demonstrated their love and dedication to our coast during Coastal Cleanup Day,” said the Commission’s Executive Director Dr. Kate Huckelbridge. “The Coastal Commission is incredibly proud to provide an outlet for all Californians to express that dedication each year. We see how devoting only a few hours on a Saturday in September translates into a year-round commitment to the protection and preservation of our coast. We are grateful to all who share in this goal.”
For information about Coastal Cleanup Month and Coastal Cleanup Day, visit coastalcleanupday.org.