NORTH COUNTY —More than 650 volunteers picked up more than 2,000 pounds of trash and 24,000 cigarette butts left behind from the Fourth of July weekend celebration. Surfrider Foundation San Diego County Chapter and Sun Diego Boardshops sponsored the sixth annual Morning-After Mess Cleanup Day to remove litter and raise awareness about the state of the beaches.
“I was pleasantly surprised when I got to the beach this morning and saw the limited mess that was left behind compared to some years in the past,” said Bill Hickman, the Surfrider Foundation San Diego Chapter Coordinator. ”There was still plenty of work for the volunteers but they were focusing on smaller items than usual. The cities and state parks generally do a good job keeping the beaches clean, but we really need and appreciate the volunteer support after big weekends like this one.”
The five cleanup sites included South Carlsbad State Beach and Oceanside South Harbor Jetty. Local environmental and resident-based groups such as San Diego Coastkeeper and I Love A Clean San Diego helped organize each site. San Diego Clean Beach Coalition provided cardboard trash bins for the beach.
Although there seemed to be less mess overall, Hickman said that cleanup found more cigarette butts than usual. He noted that that the smoking ban helps, but that many butts were found near beach access points. He encourages smokers to hold on to their cigarette butts and throw them into trash cans, as most are not biodegradable.
The annual cleanup was successful, if strange. “Some of the unusual items found today include a bra, car tire (complete with rim), a U.S. flag, lots of marshmallows in Ocean Beach and a broken barbecue set hidden in the Mission Beach bushes,” Hickman said.
The San Diego Chapter conducts beach cleanups on the second, third and fourth Saturday of every month. For the beach cleanup schedule, visit www.surfridersd.org/beachcleanups.php.