Historically, California’s coast and waterways have been collection spots for trash and debris. It’s important to remove all litter, which can be harmful, even fatal to marine wildlife.
How does this happen?
Let’s look at some specific examples starting with plastic in the water. Marine life can get caught in the debris and also consume it. Plastic bags found in ocean debris, is not biodegradable. It photodegrades, which means it breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces, but it does not go away. These small pieces absorb oil and other toxins that may be in the water, making them saturated in chemicals. Plankton feeders ingest these small pieces, along with their normal food sources. In some areas of the ocean, the ratio of plastic to plankton is 10 to 1! In addition to impacting the marine creature that eats the plastic, plastic may cause genetic mutations that can impact future generations. Fish eat other fish with some working up the food chain all the way to human consumption. Think what this means to humans who ingest fish!
Broken glass, sharp metal items or discarded syringes can pose an immediate threat to those walking on the beach or swimming in the water, as do medical and personal hygiene debris, pet waste, fertilizer and pesticide runoff that get into the water through stormdrains.
Where does marine debris come from?
The majority originates on land with approximately 20% coming from commercial and recreational vessels and offshore petroleum platforms — litter discarded miles from the shoreline that eventually find their way to our beaches, trash that makes its way into the untreated stormdrain system washing up on our shores. It’s important to note that all these sources are preventable when people choose not to litter.
Statistics from last year’s cleanup
Tens of thousands of people turned up to pick up trash at over 850 sites in 55 of California’s 58 counties. In a preliminary report from the California Coastal Commission with 70% of the cleanup sites reporting:
57,442 volunteers picked up 534,115 pounds of trash and an additional 105,816 pounds of recyclable materials for a total of 639, 930 pounds or 320 tons!
Make it a FUN day for the entire family
Traditionally, the Cleanup Day has been a great activity for families, students, individuals, and service groups to do something positive for the community where we all live. “It’s a fantastic way to make friends, set an example for young people and participate in an event that really makes a difference,” said City of Ventura Environmental Specialist Courtney Lindberg.
For the cleanup, it is suggested to come prepared for the weather (hat, shoes, sunscreen, reusable water bottle, sunglasses, etc.). The cleanup asks volunteers to help reduce waste by bringing your own container for collecting trash, such as a reusable bucket, a milk jug with the top cut off, or a reused shopping bag as well as work gloves and a reusable water bottle. However, bags, gloves, data cards, pencils, etc., will be available and provided on site.
Participate in Coastal Cleanup Day, Watch For Signup information coming soon at: http://www.CityofVentura.net/VolunteerOpportunities
Also visit the California Coastal Cleanup Day website, HERE.
GREEN REMINDER: Anytime you see litter anywhere, please pick it up! Help Keep our home and our waterways safe, beautiful and clean.