San Diego Coastkeeper, along with volunteers from I Love a Clean San Diego are coordinating the event’s San Diego County areas during what has grown into an international event.
The collected debris gives environmental groups a picture of the pollution breakdown that finds its way to the ocean. The top culprits are traditionally cigarette butts, plastics and styrofoam food containers, said Alicia Glassco, San Diego Coastkeeper’s education and marine debris manager.
“We use a lot of the information from the cleanup day to help communicate about the needs of our environment. [The event] incorporates 10,000 volunteers removing 200,000 pounds of trash … that data is super important, as it adds on to the data from the rest of the year,” Glassco said.
In addition to helping with the California Coastal Cleanup Day, Glassco also participated in a campaign to reduce waste through legislation that would make it illegal for restaurants to distribute styrofoam food containers. Once contaminated with food, the foam containers are difficult to recycle, Glassco said.
The bill is currently working its way through the California Assembly.
As state lawmakers continue to make progress on the bill, an estimated 10,000 volunteers will be hitting the pavement at more than 90 sites throughout the county on Saturday, said Morgan Justice-Black, director of development and marketing for I Love a Clean San Diego.
Volunteers are encouraged to bring their own buckets, gloves and debris containers.
“We do encourage people to stay within their communities,” Justice-Black said. “But for those who want to pick up a ton of trash elsewhere, there are plenty of sites [such as] the area between the I-94 and I-8 corridor(s).”
Area cleanup sites include Mission Bay, La Jolla Shores, Pacific Beach, Mission Beach and Ocean Beach. Volunteers are encouraged to download and fill out a registration form prior to showing up to the cleanup. Comprehensive site maps, registration forms and additional information about the event can be accessed at www.cleanupday.org.