Photo from California Coastal Commission website
Calling all beach lovers, surfers, vacation goers, families and really anyone and everyone who cares for the environment…Saturday, Sept 19th is the 25th Annual California Coastal Cleanup Day! It’s a great opportunity for people to come together from all over CA and do something to make our beaches clean and green again.
Since the program’s conception, over 800,000 Californians have contributed to removing more than 13 million pounds of debris from California coasts. Just in 2008 alone, over 1.6 million pounds of trash and recyclables were cleaned up from California coastlines and lakes.
Now while that is a great accomplishment, the fact that there is that much trash polluting our beaches and lakes is not a good thing. It’s not good for the environment and doesn’t reflect well on people’s awareness and ability to take care of the environment and clean it up.
When I was a kid growing up near the coast in Southern California, I used to spend many a weekend with my family at the beach. It was always a great place to relax, play in the sand or enjoy the Pacific Ocean. Personally I spent most of my time in the water….there was always something wonderful about being able to swim in the ocean.
One of the things that made it so nice was that it was clean. The sand was relatively clean (the occasional cigarette butt or can left lying around) and the water was pretty much free of trash – just water, sand, rocks and sometimes seaweed. A key for us was my mom taught us to always clean up after ourselves. We always picked up our stuff and tried to leave the beach clean for the next people. Trash cans were never very far away, so it wasn’t a hard thing to do. Others obviously practiced the same simple rules as well.
But in going to those same beaches over the years, I have noticed an increase in trash/pollution, both on the beach and in the water itself. For some reason people aren’t caring for the beach like they used to do. It’s a sad sight to see and one that needs to have attention brought to it. That is why I wanted to raise awareness on Coastal Cleanup Day.
What about those of you who don’t live in California, but want to contribute to Coastal Cleanup….well, you’re in luck….Saturday, Sept 19th is also International Coastal Cleanup Day! It is the perfect opportunity for anyone who lives near, visits or wants to visit the coast to help keep it clean.
And remember, when you are enjoying the beauty of the beach and ocean please keep these simple steps in mind….a) clean up after yourself, b) use re-usable containers for food & drinks so you don’t have a lot of trash, c) if you see trash, pick it up and throw it away. The beach is a great place for all of us to enjoy….let’s keep it that way!
I hope many of you will take a few hours out of your weekend and go down to the coast to help make our beaches a little more clean and green! I’d love to hear your stories or see your pictures of your Coastal Cleanup Day adventures – I’ll post mine!