The Coast News Group
Surfrider Foundation beach cleanup
An Oceanside resident and volunteer was among the 600 people that gathered at six San Diego beaches July 5 to assist with the Surfrider Foundation San Diego’s annual post-Fourth of July “Morning After” beach cleanup. Courtesy photo
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Surfrider volunteers remove 1,457 pounds of trash from San Diego beaches

REGION — In two hours of work, more than 600 volunteers with Surfrider Foundation San Diego’s annual post-Fourth of July “Morning After” beach cleanup removed 1,457 pounds of trash from San Diego’s beaches, the group said today.

The majority of the trash collected consisted of single-use plastics, which otherwise could have washed into the sea “adding to the already critical pollution problem devastating the world’s oceans,” a statement from Surfrider Foundation San Diego read.

Volunteers hosted four cleanups — at Ocean Beach Pier, Crystal Pier, Moonlight Beach and Oceanside Pier — while the San Diego River Park Foundation hosted an Ocean Beach Dog Beach cleanup, and I Love a Clean San Diego hosted one at Mission Beach/Belmont Park.

These cleanup sites were chosen because of the high concentration of beachgoers and reputations for post-July Fourth trash.

Few holidays generate more trash on San Diego County beaches than Independence Day, according to the foundation. Each year, the San Diego County chapter and partners host the “Morning After” cleanup series to help tackle the mess.

“Many volunteers remarked that the beaches seemed cleaner than in previous years, which is a great sign, but we must not lose sight of the fact that even one piece of trash on the beach is one piece too many,” said Mitch Silverstein, Surfrider Foundation San Diego chapter manager. “More than anything, we hope our beach cleanups inspire San Diegans to continue down the path of coastal stewardship, to continue lessening their reliance on single-use plastics, and to start — or continue — to hold businesses and governments accountable for the plastic pollution that has no place in our communities, on our beaches, and in our ocean.”

The Surfrider Foundation San Diego has a handful of programs working to fight plastic pollution in San Diego. The Rise Above Plastics program helped introduce and pass single-use plastic and polystyrene ordinances across San Diego County.

The program uses outreach, education and advocacy intending to cut down on single-use plastics and cigarette butts before they reach the coast.