Join the 31st Annual California Coastal Cleanup Day, Saturday, Sept. 19

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Media Contact: Judi Shils, Media Director, (415) 939-1232 cell/judi.shils@earthlink.net
Eben Schwartz, Marine Debris Program Manager,
(415) 904-5210 office, (415) 816-2506 cell/eben.schwartz@coastal.ca.gov

August 20th — This September, Californians will once again have the opportunity to join together to help stop the millions of cigarette butts, plastic bags, food wrappers, and other types of plastic pollution that litter California’s beaches and inland waterways from reaching our ocean.

The California Coastal Commission is proud to announce that the 31st Annual California Coastal Cleanup Day will take place on Saturday, September 19th from 9 a.m. to Noon (in most locations). The Cleanup is expected to draw tens of thousands of volunteers who, at more than 850 locations throughout California, will help remove tons of trash that have accumulated on California’s beaches and inland shorelines.

While 31 years may seem a long time, the need for Coastal Cleanup Day, California’s largest annual volunteer event, is greater than ever. A study published recently in Science Magazine showed that an average of 8.4 million metric tonnes of plastic litter enters the world’s oceans every year. That’s the equivalent of 18.5 billion pounds of plastic annually – enough to cover every single stretch of coastline around the world. The trash (some left by beachgoers but most originating elsewhere and traveling to beaches via rivers and storm drains) can have devastating effects on our state’s health, economy, and wildlife, and the ever-increasing footprint of single-use disposable plastic packaging only makes the problem larger and more difficult to manage.

Over the past three decades Californians have shown their willingness to do their part in a huge way. In 2014, more than 66,800 volunteers turned out for the event, ridding California of more than 1.2 million pounds of debris. Over the 30 years history of the Cleanup, more than 1.3 million volunteers have removed over 21 million pounds of trash – all during a 3-hour event taking place once a year.

There are many individual cleanup locations on Coastal Cleanup Day, in almost every California county.  This year, Californians will have an even easier time finding their Cleanup location of choice. The Coastal Commission has produced an interactive map of cleanup locations in every corner of the state, providing a visual of the impressive scope of this event. The map is available at www.coastalcleanupday.org.

In addition, the Coastal Commission will continue its emphasis on encouraging volunteers to bring their own (BYO), reusable cleanup supplies from home (such as a bucket or reusable bag and gardening gloves). It’s part of an ongoing effort to reduce the amount of single-use disposable plastic items needed to run the Cleanup – an effort that, over the past few years, has allowed the Commission to order about 150,000 fewer trash bags than they would have otherwise. 2014 saw new heights in volunteer participation in the BYO  campaign; we estimate that close to 50 percent of all volunteers brought at least one reusable item with them, or were able to use reusable cleanup supplies provided by the local coordinator.

Volunteers have always been the heart and soul of the Cleanup. Organizing those volunteers at locations around the state requires tremendous coordination by the more than 60 different non-profit organizations, local governments, and state agencies that run the event in each county and region. By combining efforts with like-minded organizations around the state, the Coastal Commission has been able to greatly increase its ability to mobilize the citizens of California to become stewards of our coast and ocean.

Another vital part of this network is the sponsor team providing the necessary funding and marketing support that make the Cleanup a huge success. The Coastal Cleanup Day Program is especially proud to have deep and long-standing partnerships with Crystal Geyser Natural Alpine Spring Water and Oracle. These corporate partners have been essential allies of this event, enabling it to take place year after year. A returning partner, Rubio’s, is planning to help reward all the hard-working (and hungry!) Coastal Cleanup Day volunteers by providing a coupon for a free taco to each individual.

To expand the experience of the Cleanup beyond September 19th, the Coastal Commission encourages people to check our online calendar of events taking place during the three weeks following the Cleanup, known as COASTWEEKS. For more information on the Cleanup and Coastweeks, please visit www.coastalcleanupday.org. Follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/CaliforniaCoast and on Twitter at twitter.com/TheCACoast.

California Coastal Cleanup Day event is presented by the California Coastal Commission with lead sponsorship from Crystal Geyser Natural Alpine Spring Water by CG Roxane. Additional support comes from NOAA, CalOES, Oracle, Rubio’s, Orchard Supply Hardware, Union Bank, the Whale Tail© Specialty License Plate, and See’s Candies.

California Coastal Cleanup Day 2015 is organized by the California Coastal Commission, with help from the California State Parks Foundation, Ocean Conservancy, and the hard work of hundreds of local non-profits and government agencies throughout the state and tens of thousands of volunteers annually.

The Coastal Commission is committed to protecting and enhancing California’s coast and ocean for present and future generations. It does so through careful planning and regulation of environmentally-sustainable development, strong public participation, education, and effective intergovernmental coordination. The Coastal Cleanup Day Program is part of its effort to raise public awareness of marine and coastal resources and promote coastal stewardship.