Coastal Cleanup Day 2012 at Seabright Beach in Santa Cruz

Coastal Cleanup Day is said to be the largest volunteer event on the planet. Volunteers in over 100 countries around the world come together with the goal of preventing hundreds of thousands of pounds of pollution from trashing our oceans and harming marine wildlife. Saturday, September 15, was Coastal Cleanup Day 2012 in the Monterey Bay. At Seabright Beach in Santa Cruz, volunteers included local families as well as teachers and students from schools in Cupertino, Fremont and San José.

Save Our Shores, the Santa Cruz-based nonprofit that coordinated the cleanups throughout the Monterey Bay, reports that 3,491 volunteers in Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties worked together to prevent 16,827 pounds of pollution and debris from trashing the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, littering our communities and harming marine life. 13,877 lbs. of the debris were trash, while 2,950 lbs. were recyclables.

The Monterey Bay cleanup sites with the most trash removed are all inland or river sites. The top five cleanup sites, as reported by Save Our Shores, were Elkhorn Slough (2,020 lbs.), Upper Carr Lake (1,960 lbs.), San Lorenzo River at the Covered Bridge (1,664 lbs.), Lompico Creek (1,425 lbs.), and San Lorenzo River at the Tannery (860 lbs.).

In Santa Cruz County, 2,354 volunteers spread across 76 miles of beach, river, lake, creek and slough to remove 9,947 pounds of pollution and debris. Meanwhile in Monterey County, 1,137 volunteers spread across 81 miles of beach, river, lake, creek and slough to remove 6,879 pounds of pollution and debris.

Save Our Shores conducts reoccurring monthly cleanups in Santa Cruz County on the 3rd Saturday of each month, as well as in Monterey County on the 2nd Saturday of each month.

Plastic Pollution Initiative

The goal of the Plastic Pollution Initiative by Save Our Shores is to reduce the amount of trash, particularly plastic pollution, reaching the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary and the ocean by providing the community with opportunities to participate in plastic pollution prevention and removal.

Through the Plastic Pollution Initiative, Save Our Shores also strives to help individuals make the connection between their lifestyle choices and the collective community impacts of plastic pollution on our oceans.

Core Components to the Plastic Pollution Initiative

1. Trash Cleanups: Save Our Shores organizes cleanups with the general public or individual groups on our local beaches and rivers as well as coordinate with kayakers and SCUBA divers to remove trash that has already reached the ocean.

2. Community Cleanup Days: There are several days throughout the year when SOS organizes community wide cleanups.

  • July 4th and 5th: SOS organizes Pollution Prevention Days on the 4th to educate people about plastic pollution, as well as organizes county-wide beach cleanups on the 5th.
  • Annual Coastal Cleanup Day: This is the largest cleanup day in the world, organized in over 100 countries with nearly 3,500 volunteers locally!

Bradley Stuart Allen is a photographer, Indymedia volunteer and website developer living in Santa Cruz, California. All content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Photo credit and a link to this article is appreciated. Support local independent media.