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September 17, 2008 > Time to cleanup our mess

Time to cleanup our mess

Coastal Cleanup Day is Saturday September 20

Groups of citizens will fan out around the Bay Area on Saturday to rescue shorelines and riverbanks from mountains of trash that collect during the year. There are some who view these areas as waste receptacles without much thought of the cost of reversing such actions and damage to the environment. Fortunately, many others appreciate and respect our landscape and gather during the year to mediate the effects of thoughtless disposal of unwanted items.

California Coastal Cleanup Day is a volunteer event focused on the marine environment in our state. Last year more than 60,000 volunteers collected more than 900,000 pounds of trash and recyclables from our beaches, lakes, and waterways. The Guinness Book of World Records notes this as "the largest garbage collection." Since the program started in 1985, over 800,000 Californians have removed more than 12 million pounds of debris from our state's shorelines and coast. Combined with an international effort coordinated by The Ocean Conservancy that takes place on the same day, California Coastal Cleanup Day becomes part of one of the largest volunteer events of the year.

Coastal Cleanup Day takes place every year on the third Saturday of September, from 9 a.m. to Noon creating a meaningful activity for families, students, service groups, and neighbors to take care of the marine environment, show community support for our shared natural resources, learn about the impacts of marine debris and how we can prevent them, and.. have fun!

Fremont Environmental Specialist Val Blakely who coordinates the Coastal Cleanup activities for Fremont suggests pre-registration. Children younger than six years old are discouraged from attending this activity and all children should be accompanied by a responsible adult. "Locations available for additional volunteers will change depending on how much work there is to do in a particular area." If there are too many volunteers in one location and not enough in another, some efforts can be wasted. He cautions that participants should wear sturdy shoes or boots, long pants, long-sleeve shirts and a hat. Trash "stickers" to pick up litter and bags will be provided. Last year, 170 volunteers cleaned up over 6,000 pounds of material from Fremont creeks. "We find small pieces of plastic and glass, bottle caps, shopping carts, mattresses, tires, bicycles, a lot of cigarette butts, plastic bags, paper bags and candy bar wrappers." This year, so far, the number of volunteers has swelled to over 200.

To participate in Coastal Cleanup Day, pre-register with your local Coordinator. For more information, call (800) COAST-4U; visit and look under "Public Education and Volunteer Programs" or

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