Editorial

Volunteer to beautify a local beach

Saturday is the annual California Coastal Cleanup Day, so hit the sand and tidy up

letters@thetribunenews.comSeptember 19, 2013 

Kayla DeBlauw, from Arroyo Grande, picks up trash under the Pismo Beach Pier as she and other volunteers take part in the annual California Coastal Cleanup in September 2008.

JOE JOHNSTON — jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

Let’s talk trash, shall we? By that, we mean the soda cans, takeout coffee cups, potato chip bags, candy wrappers, tires, car parts, beer bottles, disposable diapers, cigarette butts and all the other nasty detritus left on our local beaches.

It’s nasty stuff, but on Saturday we’ll have the opportunity to do something about it. It’s the 29th annual California Coastal Cleanup Day, and volunteers will gather at 28 local beaches to collect garbage — alot of garbage.

Last year, nearly 2,800 pounds of trash and recyclables were removed from SLO County beaches and creeks. That was a relatively small haul; the previous year, more than 30,000 pounds of trash were removed, though that included five appliances hauled out of local creeks and abandoned boats and trailers collected during a special cleanup in Los Osos.

Sure, in an ideal world, we wouldn’t have to clean up other people’s messes, but the alternative — allowing litter to build up on our beaches and possibly wash into the ocean — is just plain gross. Trash makes beaches unpleasant places for us, it’s not exactly a turn-on for tourists, and it’s horrible for the marine environment.

And if that’s not enough to persuade you to join the more than 1,000 volunteers expected on SLO County beaches, consider these perks: Every volunteer will be entered in a raffle for prizes donated by local merchants, and everyone will receive a coupon for a free burrito from Chipotle.

And here’s the kicker: “You’re going to be on the beach,” said Michael Heater, Coastal Cleanup Day coordinator for ECOSLO. “It’s going to be gorgeous, and after the day’s event, you can hang out and relax.”

WANT TO VOLUNTEER?

The coastal cleanup takes place from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday at 28 beaches stretching from San Simeon to the Oceano Dunes. Exact locations are listed at http://www.ecoslo.org, or call 544-1777. Volunteers can also register online.

To reduce the amount of trash generated by the event, ECOSLO recommends that volunteers bring their own reusable gloves, water bottles and reusable bags or buckets.

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