Coastal Cleanup Day began in 1985 as a way to combat the increasing marine debris along our shorelines. It is now the largest volunteer day on the planet! The Ocean Conservancy leads the International Coastal Cleanup Day effort, while the California Coastal Commission leads the statewide effort in California.
Heal the Bay has coordinated the Los Angeles County Coastal Cleanup Day for 23 years. L.A. County sites span from Long Beach up to Malibu and inland to the L.A. River Confluence, among approximately 60 other sites. California Coastal Cleanup Day was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the “largest garbage collection” in 1993, with an outstanding total of 50,405 volunteers statewide! Since the start of California’s participation in 1986, over 800,000 people have collectively gathered more than 14 million pounds of trash and debris from along the coast and up through the natural water basins.
OK, cool...but why is this so important?
Keeping our oceans and local waterways clean is very important!
They are the largest part of our water cycle, generating the rain necessary to sustain life on Earth.
We also receive 60-70% of our oxygen from our oceans, along with food and other natural ingredients found in many of our products.
Many businesses thrive simply because the existence of our oceans; scientists can withdraw vital research for lifesaving medicines and many countries rely on the tourism opportunities found along beaches as staple component of their economy.
In short, healthy beaches allow for us to get optimal use out of such a large, plentiful resource.
An estimated 6.4 million tons of litter enters the oceans every year and 80% comes from land! That is why it is vital we also focus on cleaning up inland creeks and waterways so the debris doesn’t find its way into the oceans and onto the beach. Though it may not seem like it, EACH person in L.A. County is connected to the ocean and each person can help keep it clean. Every cigarette butt thrown out of a car window, every balloon accidentally released will eventually make its way to the ocean.