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Tuesday, December 11 , 2018, 6:20 pm | Fair 62º


Coastal Cleanup Day Volunteers Collect 2,545 Pounds of Debris

The largest volunteer cleanup in Santa Barbara County had another huge year. With 100 percent of the sites reporting, 952 volunteers collected more than 1,900 pounds of trash and 645 pounds of recyclables from 25 sites from Rincon Beach Park to Guadalupe Dunes in Santa Barbara County.

Some strange vegetable-themed items were dug up this year from coastal areas. A corn on the cob at Santa Claus Lane and a corn on the cob holder in Isla Vista, an electric popcorn popper at Goleta Beach, and a Mr. Potato Head mustache at Butterfly Beach.

“Why would anyone want these things at the beach?” asked Sam Dickinson, cleanup coordinator for the County of Santa Barbara. “Volunteers also collected an impressive amount of conventional trash. However, it’s not just about collecting the strange or large items to make an impact. This year at Chase Palm Park Beach, 142 volunteers found 2,030 cigarette butts and 250 pounds of other debris that had the potential to become marine debris.”

Over a third of the volunteers brought their own reusable buckets or reusable bags for trash and gloves for the cleanup, which indicates public awareness of the importance of creating less waste in the first place. Some sites, like Explore Ecology, who hosted a site at Arroyo Burro Beach, brought their own reusable buckets for volunteers to use to discourage waste.

The event was brought to you by your Resource Recovery and Waste Management Division of the County Public Works Department and supported by partnerships with the cities of Goleta and Santa Barbara, the State Parks and County Parks Division. The cleanup is made possible by the hard work and services provided by the local businesses, organizations and community members who act as beach captains.

“I would like to thank everyone who made this great event possible. I was blown away by the amount of community participation and the resulting impact from this cleanup day!” Dickinson said.

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 65,000 volunteers removed more than 769,000 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.

Next year’s Coastal Cleanup Day is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 20. Stay tuned for details on the county’s recycling website, www.LessIsMore.org.

— Sam Dickinson is the Coastal Cleanup Day coordinator for the Santa Barbara County Public Works Department.

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