As a busy summer draws to a close (especially hectic after Highway 1 reopened in Big Sur), it’s time for humans to do some coastal housekeeping for Mother Nature.
Tthe 34th annual Coastal Cleanup Day is set from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Sept. 15, and eight of the 35 collection sites in San Luis Obispo County are spread out from the Cayucos Pier to the elephant-seal viewing area just south of the Piedras Blancas Light Station.
Other North Coast sites include San Simeon Cove, Pico Beach/creek, San Simeon Campground, Moonstone Beach/Santa Rosa Creek, Fiscalini Ranch Preserve/Santa Rosa Creek and Estero Bluffs. There are other sites in Cayucos and, of course, beyond.
To participate in the 2018 Coastal Cleanup effort, sign up at ecoslo.org. While preregistration isn’t required, it helps organizers prepare for the number of volunteers expected at each site.
The new registration protocol also allows registrants to donate to help support all data-driven cleanups hosted throughout the year by ECOSLO.
Coastal Cleanup volunteers again will collect truckloads of trash, recyclables and “marine debris,” which essentially consists of manmade elements that aren’t supposed to be on the shore.
“Marine debris impacts human health and safety, endangers wildlife and aquatic habitats, and costs local and national economies millions in wasted resources and lost revenues,” ECOSLO’s website says.
The site defines marine debris as “any manufactured or processed solid waste material that enters the marine environment from any source.”
According to the website, “Even though Central Coast beaches are cleaner than some, last year we removed nearly 6,500 pounds of trash and recyclables from our beaches, waterways and lakes.”
Those volunteers span all ages (although those under 18 must be accompanied by an adult or have a signed parental waiver with them).
Cleanup supplies will be provided. ECOSLO recommends that volunteers bring their own reusable gloves, collecting bags or buckets, and filled, reusable water bottles to reduce waste. That will help decrease the plastic footprint of the event itself.
ECOSLO also suggests wearing closed-toed shoes and comfortable clothing, and site captains encourage participants to wear sunscreen and other sun protection like hats and sunglasses because you can get sunburned even when the weather is overcast.