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Thousands take to the coast to clean up California’s beaches — and more

The 39th annual California Coastal Cleanup Day kicked off on Saturday, Sept. 23, with thousands of folks taking the coasts to volunteer for the state-sponsored event aimed at bringing nature lovers together to benefit the beaches.

More than 700 cleanups in nearly every county of the state got underway on Saturday, with the cleanup day touted as the state’s largest annual volunteer event.

The California Coastal Cleanup day is even recognized as the biggest single-day volunteer event on the planet by the Guinness Book of World Records, according to a recent news release from the California Coastal Commission, who organizes the event.

There were about 36,000 volunteers for the statewide in the 2021 iteration of the event, for example, according to the most recently available data from the California Coastal Commission, who helped clear more than 363,000 pounds of debris.

Since the event’s inception in 1985, more than 1.7 million volunteers have helped remove more than 26 million pounds of trash from California’s beaches and inland shorelines — and the event has grown to include cleanups as far inland as Riverside and Pasadena, where volunteers are able to catch trash before it enters the beaches.

This year’s Coastal Cleanup Day theme was, “You’re Bigger Than You Think,” a mantra meant to illustrate the significant positive impacts of volunteers who come together for a shared purpose.

The event is particularly important for the health of our oceans because California’s storm drain system isn’t built to filter out litter — meaning trash swept into the sewers by heavy rains goes straight into the ocean.

And with the unprecedented wet winter Southern California had this year, there’s more trash that needs removal than usual.

“The Coastal Commission is incredibly proud to provide an outlet for all Californians to express that dedication each year,” said Kate Huckelbridge, the commission’s executive director, in a news release. “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.”

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Source: Orange County Register

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