Volunteers collect over 11,000 pounds of trash in annual coastal cleanup in SLO County

Nearly 2,000 volunteers fanned out across San Luis Obsipo County on Saturday morning for the annual coastal cleanup day, and their collective haul of garbage was an impressive one.

A total of 11,533 pounds of trash was collected, according to event organizer ECOSLO Executive Director Mary Ciesinski, in addition to 825 pounds of recyclables.

Organized by ECOSLO, along with Central Coast Partners for Water Quality, and dubbed SLO County Creeks to Coast Cleanup, the event covered 102 miles from 48 sites, from beaches to parks to lakes.

“This is just a reminder we need to think about trash wherever we may be,” Ciesinski said. “All of our site captains worked so hard to make today possible. Thank you to them and thank you to all the volunteers for making this data-driven cleanup possible for our community.

“... This day always reminds me that there are thousands of creatures we share our community with, but humans are the only species polluting it. It’s our responsibility to make days like this happen so we can track what we find and advocate for change.”

ECOSLO has coordinated beach cleanups from San Simeon to Nipomo since 2005 as part of an international day of cleanup. This year, Central Coast Partners for Water Quality — which had organized Creek Day in late September — joined in the effort.

The international day of action was designed to protect oceans, watersheds and wildlife from trash and debris, according to the California Coastal Commission.

The most common items found by a crowd of volunteers in Pismo Beach were cigarette butts, glass and plastic bottles, trash bags and food bags. Some participants found old clothes, whole bags of trash and fireworks buried under the sand.

Related stories from San Luis Obispo Tribune