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One commissioner cited a National Park Service study that estimates Americans use 500 million plastic straws each day and a 2015 beach trash cleanup in San Diego that yielded 15,000 plastic straws. Stock photo
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Nearly 3,000 pounds of trash from beach cleanup

REGION — Nearly 350 volunteers collected more than 2,800 pounds of trash at seven popular beaches the morning after the Fourth of July as part Surfrider Foundation’s annual “Morning After Mess” beach cleanup series.

In only three hours, volunteers had recovered approximately 2,832 pounds of trash ⁠— consisting mostly of single-use plastics ⁠—  which otherwise would have been washed into the sea, adding to the already critical pollution problem devastating the world’s oceans.

Surfrider volunteers hosted four cleanups at Imperial Beach, Ocean Beach Pier and Oceanside, while partner organizations hosted the remaining five sites at Ocean Beach Dog Beach hosted by San Diego River Park Foundation, Mission Beach hosted by San Diego Coastkeeper, Fiesta Island hosted by I Love A Clean San Diego, Crystal Pier hosted by Paddle For Peace, and Moonlight Beach hosted by Un Mar De Colores.  These cleanup sites were chosen because of the high concentration of beachgoers and notorious reputations for post-holiday trash.

Volunteers collected approximately 92 pounds of trash at the Oceanside Pier and 73 pounds at Moonlight Beach. The most trash collected was approximately 1,925 pounds at the Ocean Beach Dog Beach.

Few holidays generate more trash on San Diego County beaches than the Fourth of July.  The “Morning After Mess” showcases the impact that society’s reliance on wasteful, single-use plastic products has on the coastal environment. Each year, the San Diego County chapter of Surfrider Foundation and partners host the “Morning After Mess” cleanup series to help tackle the mess.

“Many of our volunteers remarked that the beaches seemed cleaner than in previous years, which is a great sign that we are headed in the right direction together,” said Alex Ferron, Surfrider Foundation San Diego chapter manager. “Despite that, we can’t lose sight of the fact that even one piece of trash on the beach is too many. More than anything, we hope our beach cleanups inspire San Diegans to continue down the path of coastal stewardship and environmental activism.”

The Surfrider Foundation San Diego has a handful of programs working to fight plastic pollution in San Diego. Specifically, the Rise Above Plastics program has been a key player in introducing and passing single-use plastic and polystyrene ordinances across San Diego County. The program uses outreach, education and advocacy to cut down on single-use plastics and cigarette butts before they reach the coast.

For more information on the Surfrider Foundation San Diego, visit

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