California has a beautiful scenic coastline that stretches 840 miles (1,350 km) and is home to a large diversity of life and recreational opportunities. Many Californians found their way to beaches this summer to enjoy the cold waters of the Pacific Ocean and a break from the heat.
California State Parks manages 128 coastal park units, covering about 25% of the coast. From the fog that provides water to our state Coast Redwoods to the nutrient-rich waters that allow the kelp forests to thrive and whales to migrate here annually, we appreciate all the benefits the Pacific Ocean brings to our state.
The 37th annual California Coastal Cleanup Day takes place in September every year. Our trash that gets into waterways and ultimately the ocean has negative impacts on wildlife and people. Give back to the sea by picking up some of the trash at the beach today or any other day! This year, it was September 18. I ordered my California Coastal Commission t-shirt and I’m ready to grab a bag and pick up some trash.
Every year tens of thousands of volunteers work together to clean up our state’s beaches and watersheds. In 2018, 71,756 volunteers across California collected 816,323 pounds of debris on California Coastal Cleanup Day. All of that trash was kept out of the ocean! This statewide event is part of the International Coastal Clean-up Day, one of the biggest worldwide ocean-related volunteer events.
Even if you don’t spend a lot of time by the beach, you can still help protect our coastline by participating in efforts to reduce trash that travels downstream from mountains and valleys into our coastal areas. On Coastal Cleanup Day, river and lake clean up events also occur all over the state.
Events are a fun way to work together with your community and contribute to the day’s total debris pickup, but there are other ways to make an impact. Whether you want to bring an extra bag to your next beach day for trash you see or join a local conservation organization, your actions can make a difference. Similar to how you can use iNaturalist by yourself or during a Bioblitz to explore nature and contribute to community science, you can use the Ocean Swell app to track the trash you collect!
Read more about the consequences of marine trash here.
Why pick up trash and how to track it: