The third Saturday in September invites people to show stewardship for the ocean and be part of an international effort to keep our beaches clean. This year, Coastal Cleanup Day is Saturday, Sept. 20, from 9 a.m. to noon.
The first organized coastal cleanup took place in Oregon in 1984 at the end of a busy summer season that left a popular beach a little worse for wear.
In 1985, the California Coastal Commission adopted the idea. By 1993, California Coastal Cleanup Day was recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the “largest litter collection event.”
Last year, The Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup documented more than half a million volunteers, collecting 10 million pounds of trash in countries all over the world.
Coastal Cleanup Day is strategically timed after Labor Day, when summer visitors have headed for home, and before the first rains of winter wash discarded litter and trash into the ocean. Cleanups are also organized along coastal creeks and waterways.
The Environmental Center of San Luis Obispo (ECOSLO) coordinates the county’s Coastal Cleanup Day at 28 locations from San Simeon to Oceano. Litter items and recyclables are weighed and counted, reported to a statewide database and disposed of properly. Volunteers receive a certificate of appreciation in the mail.
If you have your own gloves and bags, bring them. Otherwise they will be provided.
In San Simeon and Cambria, you can participate at these beach locations:
- San Simeon Cove/W.R. Hearst State Beach.
- San Simeon Campground at Washburn Day Use.
- Moonstone Beach at Santa Rosa Creek parking lot.
- Fiscalini Ranch at the south Windsor Boulevard entrance.
For more information about Coastal Cleanup Day in SLO County, visit www.ecoslo.org/coastal-cleanup/coastal-cleanup-2014.
Carolyn Skinder, representative for the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, has been organizing beach cleanups at San Simeon Cove since 2006.
“Coastal Cleanup is citizen science,” she said. “Statewide data are collected by volunteers, tabulated and combined with national and international data. The information is used in environmental policy decisions. NOAA’s Marine Debris Program collects data from volunteers all year long.”
If cleaning up litter at the beach isn’t your thing, you can offer support with donations of food or other rewards for volunteers.