The Coast News Group
You never know what sort of trash you will find as part of a waterway cleanup, but top items found include cigarette butts, EPS foam (i.e. Styrofoam) fragments and common single-use plastics such as food wrappers, bags, bottle caps and straws. Photo courtesy Marie Diaz

Create your own waterway clean-up

REGION — In honor of its 25th anniversary, San Diego Coastkeeper is continuing its mission of protecting San Diego’s rivers, streams, and coastlines with a #CoastkeeperCleanupChallenge campaign.

Having activated 11,895 volunteers to remove 16,534 pounds of trash from the coastline in 2019, Coastkeeper is inviting people across the region to mitigate concerns of pollution by conducting cleanups along San Diego’s various waterways. The goal of the year-long campaign is to inspire individuals to go further, embrace conservation, and to think globally, act locally.

Challenge participants are asked to conduct a cleanup along any body of water on their own or as part of an event, tracking their results through photos and video, and sharing the information with Coastkeeper. Results will provide information on where continued efforts may be needed most as well as promote monthly cleanups hosted by Coastkeeper and cleanup partner, Surfrider Foundation San Diego County.

The organization offers Cleanup-in-a-Box kits, which include trash bags, trash grabbers, gloves, datasheets and pencils, a scale, sunscreen, hand sanitizer, and an instruction packet. Participants are also encouraged to share their successes via social media, using the #CoastkeeperCleanupChallenge hashtag.

In addition to science, advocacy, and education work, Coastkeeper’s community engagement efforts have led to more than 119,000 pounds of marine debris from the region’s beaches and waterways since 2007. In partnership with Surfrider, the 2019 beach cleanup data report reveals 237,452 separate pieces of trash were collected from 196 different cleanup events. Top items found include cigarette butts, EPS foam (i.e. Styrofoam) fragments, and common single-use plastics such as food wrappers, bags, bottle caps, and straws. Detailed information on cleanup efforts can be found at

The next Coastkeeper-hosted community cleanup will be from 9 to 11 a.m. Jan. 25 in Otay Valley, which will also include a tree planting. Participants should bring their own bag, bucket, and work gloves if they have them, but Coastkeeper will have supplies on hand to borrow. For more information and additional cleanup dates, visit