Volunteers clean up more than 2,500 pounds of trash from SLO County beaches

Volunteers helped clean up trash from San Luis Obispo County beaches on Sept. 15, 2012.
Volunteers helped clean up trash from San Luis Obispo County beaches on Sept. 15, 2012.

More than 1,000 volunteers converged on 29 sites in San Luis Obispo County last weekend to clean up over 2,500 pounds of trash and recyclables.

Californians throughout the state turned out by the tens of thousands to lend their hands in support of clean beaches and inland waterways at California Coastal Cleanup Day, according to a news release from the Environmental Center of San Luis Obispo County.

With 70 percent of the cleanup sites reporting, the statewide count stands at 57,442 volunteers. Those volunteers picked up 534,115 pounds of trash and an additional 105,816 pounds of recyclable materials, for a total of 639,930 pounds or 320 tons.

Volunteers scoured shorelines and inland locations Sept. 15, picking up trash and debris at over 850 sites in 55 of California’s 58 counties. It was all part of the California Coastal Commission’s 28th Annual California Coastal Cleanup Day, the state’s largest volunteer event.

This year coastal volunteers were on the lookout for debris that may have been washed into the Pacific due to the March 2011 tsunami in Japan.

In addition to tracking down tsunami debris, volunteers picked up a number of “unusual” items during this year’s cleanup, according to the news release.

The winners of the 2012 Most Unusual Item contest are a volunteer at Kehoe Beach in Marin County who found an old, degraded love letter that was later read aloud at a barbecue at the Bay Model Visitor Center.

A concrete statue of a rabbit was found in Redding.

ECOSLO and the Coastal Commission asked volunteers to bring their own reusable bag or bucket and reusable gloves to the event, rather than using the single‐use disposable items that were available at each site. Because of the effort, the commission was able to order 30 percent fewer trash bags. Reports show that 5,222 volunteers brought at least one reusable item from home for use during this year’s ceanup.

COASTWEEKS, a three‐week celebration of coastal resources that takes place across the United States continues. To get involved with COASTWEEKS, or to find out how to become a Coastal Steward throughout the year, contact the commission at (800) COAST‐4U or visit its website at http//www.coast4u.org.