Local environmental group Heal the Bay is asking residents to join the world’s biggest single-day volunteer event — the 29th annual Coastal Cleanup Day — this Saturday, Sept. 20
As part of a global effort, tens of thousands of concerned citizens in Los Angeles County will link to remove harmful and unsightly trash and debris from more than 50 coastal and inland sites, an area that spans close to 100 square miles.
Since 1990, Heal the Bay has coordinated the county’s Coastal Cleanup Day, mobilizing an army of volunteers from 9 am-noon to canvass beaches, parks, creeks, lakes, highways and alleys to remove ocean-bound trash and beautify neighborhoods.
Last year, more than 11,000 volunteers collected nearly 24,000 pounds of debris in Los Angeles County. Worldwide, 684,000 volunteers in 92 nations amassed nearly 12.3 million pound of debris in a single day.
Cigarette butts, food wrappers and bottle caps remain the three most common items found by Coastal Cleanup Day volunteers.
Among the unusual items found in the sand by Heal the Bay volunteers at last year’s event: a beekeeper’s comb box, a 35-pound car battery and 120 pounds of rolled-up carpeting.
Heal the Bay seeks volunteers of all ages and physical abilities; no experience necessary. Site captains will organize a diverse mix of individuals, families, neighborhoods, community groups, schools, faith-based groups, sports teams and businesses.
To sign up, visit healthebay.org/ccd.
No special training or equipment is necessary. But in a bid to reduce waste even further, Heal the Bay encourages volunteers to “BYO” — bring their own buckets, reusable bags and gloves to pick up trash.
In addition to picking up debris, volunteers learn first-hand the importance of keeping trash out of waterways and improve their own community environments, thus protecting what they love – be it their local beach, park, avenue or creek.
Runoff from more than 200 storm drains flowing out to Santa Monica and San Pedro bays causes the vast majority of local ocean pollution. By removing tons of debris from beaches and inland neighborhoods, cleanup participants reduce blight, protect marine animals and bolster the regional economy.
“Code Red” locations in need of special attention this year are Medea Creek in Agoura Hills, Compton Creek and the Los Angeles River confluence. These urban sites drain runoff from huge swaths of Los Angeles County and are overwhelmed by such litter as plastic bags and fast-food packaging.
In addition to the Code Red sites, approximately 50 sites have been confirmed this year, including more than 15 inland locations. SCUBA dive sites will include Leo Carrillo State Beach, Malibu Pier, Redondo Beach, Dockweiler Beach and the Santa Monica Pier. There will be a kayak effort in Marina del Rey, where participants will need to pre-register with the Bay Foundation.