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September 21, 2010 > Coastal Cleanup Day

Coastal Cleanup Day

By Fina Mora

In 1985, California expanded an idea that began in Oregon the year before. The California Coastal Commission started the first California Coastal Cleanup Day, inviting volunteers to visit their local beach and help clean up the debris that had accumulated. 2,500 people showed up for that first cleanup, launching what has become an extensive statewide movement for cleaner beaches.

Now in its 26th year, California Coastal Cleanup Day has become the largest and one of the most successful volunteer events in the state and the nation. According to the California Coastal Commission, "80,622 volunteers took part in the 25th Annual California Coastal Cleanup Day in 2009, representing an all-time high in volunteer participation and marking a 60 percent increase in volunteers over the past three years. Those participants removed close to 1.4 million pounds of debris from hundreds of cleanup locations, creating an enormous one-day impact."

Coastal Cleanup Day, however, is more than gathering volunteers for cleaner beaches, but to also preserve marine wildlife. Common items that may seem harmless can harm and even be fatal to marine animals. Fishing line or nets, strapping bands, and six-pack rings can hamper mobility. Once entangled, animals have trouble eating, breathing or swimming, with fatal results. Animals may mistake these items for food, leading to starvation.

California Coastal Cleanup Day is a major part of an International Coastal Cleanup, the world's largest volunteer event dedicated to the marine environment; over 90 countries participate. Just like California is part of a broader coastal Cleanup, several smaller Cleanups take place locally throughout the state. Although preregistration is required for many local Cleanups, additional volunteer openings may be available. Local city and recreational websites are good references for cleanup day activities.

Although Coastal Cleanup Day takes place once a year, doesn't mean the other 364 days can be ignored. Do your part and remember to keep our coast clean.

In addition, Coastal Cleanup Day also serves as the kickoff to Coast Weeks, a three-week celebration of the coastal and water resources Saturday, September 25- Sunday, October 17. During those three weeks, Californians come together to keep our coasts free of debris and preserve marine wildlife. Various events take place across the state and are posted at

International Coastal Cleanup Day
Saturday, September 25

Don Edwards National Wildlife Refuge
Dumbarton Fishing Pier, Fremont
8:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
510/792-0222 ext. 362
Reservations are NOT required

9 a.m. - Noon
Meek Estate Park
240 Hampton Road, Hayward

East Bay Regional Park District
8:30 a.m.- Noon

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