With a litter cleanup along Mission Beach and Bay, students and volunteers significantly improved the health and beauty of San Diego’s natural environment, preventing debris from entering the ocean and harming sensitive marine wildlife. After the cleanup, the group formed a stunning aerial art image of the sun setting over ocean waves and the words “Waves of Change.”
“We want to change from a ‘throw away’ society to one that is more in tune with our life and environmental cycles,” said Pauline Martinson, executive director of ILACSD.
All the students who participated in Kids’ Ocean Day attend local Title I schools and otherwise may not have the means to go to the beach. For 140 students, this event was their first beach experience. The event’s youth participants represented Buena Vista Elementary, Ericson Elementary, Field Elementary, Porter Elementary, Joyner Elementary, San Marcos Elementary, Mission Elementary, and Los Peñasquitos Elementary.
The students cleaned about a mile of Mission Beach, from Belmont Park to South Mission. “We typically collect about 400 pounds of trash at this location,” Martinson said. “This year, we also covered the bayside. If there is 400 pounds just within a mile of the beach, imagine how much trash blankets our entire beach.”
The event culminated with the creation of a piece of living art – an aerial art image that spelled out “Waves of Change” along South Mission Beach. This powerful, captivating image called for San Diegans to take action for the oceans. With eight million metric tons of plastic waste entering the world’s oceans each year, a cleaner future will only be possible by prioritizing conservation over convenience and decreasing our consumption and disposal of single-use plastic items. By drawing attention to the issue of plastic pollution, the young participants hope this message inspires all San Diegans to make changes that benefit our environment.
“Creating a connection between the beach and these young children is essential for them to understand how their inland actions affect the health of our ocean. Inland littering is where the massive trash issue typically begins,” Martinson said.
Kids’ Ocean Day was made possible through the generous support of many partners, including California’s Coastal Commission’s Whale Tale grant program and the Protect Our Coast and Oceans Fund, Qualcomm Foundation, Cox Communications, Jack in the Box, Bumble Bee Seafoods, Alta Environmental, Wells Fargo, CRC CARES, U.S. Bank, ViaSat, Kohl’s, Einstein Bagels, Starbucks, and Outside the Lens. Volunteer support for the event included individual community members and teams representing Kohl’s, Wells Fargo, HandsOn San Diego, Sony, Shake Shack, Pacific Beach Women’s Club, and many more.
Kids’ Ocean Day is one of hundreds of cleanups hosted by ILACSD. In 2017, ILACSD mobilized over 31,000 volunteers who removed nearly 400,000 pounds of debris from San Diego County. Join ILACSD for their next cleanup on Saturday, June 9 at Rainbow County Park. For more information about how to get involved, please visit CleanSD.org.