As we were gearing up for this year’s Coastal Cleanup Day, Eben Schwartz reminded us of the huge positive impact this day has on the planet. It’s not only about all the trash that we’ve cleaned up over the years, though 25 million pounds is nothing to sneeze at. But the real story is the passion for preserving and protecting our beautiful natural resources that has galvanized over 1.5 million volunteers to pick up and tally plastic trash for over three decades. Check out the Coastal Commission’s collection of photos, stories, data, and fun facts about California Coastal Cleanup Day to date.
Volunteers in California will be joined by hundreds of thousands of volunteers across the world on Sept. 21. And the world needs all hands on deck to deal with the rising tide of plastic. According to the Ocean Conservancy, the sponsor of International Coastal Cleanup Day, last year all of the top ten trash items found on Coastal Cleanup Day were made of plastic. How do we know? Because of all of the tally cards completed by an army of volunteers, also known as citizen scientists. The data collected on Coastal Cleanup Day provides critical information for policymakers on what the sources of trash are. We know that 80% of all trash found in the oceans arrives through storm drains that drain inland areas. We know that most of the trash found is from convenience packaging from items used once and then thrown away. What can we do about it?
Number 3 on the list is straws/stirrers. Join The Watershed Project’s #ecostrawseptember campaign to raise awareness of alternatives to plastic straws. Post a photo of yourself sipping your favorite beverage through a sustainable straw, which could be just your lips! And join us at our cleanups at Shimada Friendship Park and the Albany Bulb in collecting plastic straws and creating a strong message saying no to plastic straws. Saying no to plastic straws is just a start–we’ve compiled a list of ways to reduce your plastic consumption for every month. Basically take a leaf from your grandmother or even great grandmother’s book when grocery shopping, wrapping gifts, cleaning house, and saving leftovers.
Come to Coastal Cleanup Day on Saturday, Sept. 21 from 9-12 and help reduce marine debris, starting with all the plastic that has piled up on our shorelines since last year. Prizes will be awarded for the most unusual item found, and who knows–you may find an unexpected treasure! Help us spread the word to your friends, family, and neighbors. And if you can’t join us during the clean up, you can help stem the tide of plastic pollution by reducing your consumption of plastic throughout the year and by supporting the California Circular Economy and Plastic Pollution Reduction Act, SB 54 and AB 1080, which will require reductions in single-use packaging and products sold or distributed in California by 75 percent by 2030. See you on September 21!