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Friday, March 22 , 2019, 10:01 pm | Fair 56º


Coastal Cleanup Day Makes a Difference for Santa Barbara County Beaches, Creeks

More than 1,000 volunteers collect 1.7 tons of trash — including a car axle

Volunteers really took out the trash Saturday for Coastal Cleanup Day. With 93 percent of the sites reporting, 1,073 volunteers collected more than 2,287 pounds of trash and 1,104 pounds of recyclables from 28 locations in Santa Barbara County.

Reusable items were part of a Bring Your Own campaign to help with Coastal Cleanup Day.
Reusable items were part of a Bring Your Own campaign to help with Coastal Cleanup Day. (Santa Barbara County Public Works Department photo)

Some of the entrants for weirdest items found were a 140-pound car axle, 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 Santa Barbara County. “Last year, we collected more than 9,900 cigarette butts, 2,500 food wrappers and 1,500 bottle caps!”

Two sites with hard-working volunteers were Hospital Creek and Haskell’s Beach. At Hospital Creek, eight volunteers collected 108 pounds, which is 13.5 pounds per person. At Haskell’s Beach, 35 volunteers collected 569 pounds of debris — for a whopping 16.3 pounds per person in only three hours! Haskell’s is where the car axle was found.

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 hard-working 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, nonprofit organziations 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 Oregon and another in Texas, became concerned about debris on our ocean’s shorelines. That was the start of the Ocean Conservancy’s beach cleanups, which have grown to an international event. Last year in California alone, 70,000 volunteers cleaned up more than 800 sites statewide, collecting more than 1 million pounds of trash and recyclables.

Volunteers are crucial to the world’s largest one-day cleanup effort. Not only do they help improve the health of the ocean and its wildlife, but the data collected provide important information regarding the types, quantity and location of marine debris. The data is analyzed by the Ocean Conservancy and distributed to governments and organizations in the hopes that it will help direct policy and funding to preserve our oceans, rivers and lakes.

— Jeff Simeon is cleanup coordinator for Santa Barbara County’s Coastal Cleanup Day.

Goleta Beach was blanketed by 149 Coastal Cleanup Day volunteers who found, among other debris, a full-sized raft buried in the sand.
Goleta Beach was blanketed by 149 Coastal Cleanup Day volunteers who found, among other debris, a full-sized raft buried in the sand. (Santa Barbara County Public Works Department photo)

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