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September 2, 2020
Coastal Cleanup Day Upgraded to All Month Long
State and local agencies partner to promote public involvement during pandemic
San Rafael, CA – Organizing the annual California Coastal Cleanup Day may seem impossible during the COVID pandemic and while wildfire smoke masks the Pacific Coast. However, instead of cancelling the single-day environmental event, it has been upgraded to a month-long effort, encouraging members of the community to “Protect Your Happy Place!” by undertaking localized activities throughout September.
All participants involved in Coastal Cleanup activities should maintain necessary pandemic precautions, limit their cleanup groups to their own household members, and avoid exposure to wildfire smoke and related unsafe areas. It is recommended that participants avoid areas such as beaches and populated spaces, and limit driving to help keep roads clear for wildfire related emergency vehicles.
The multi-agency effort is organized by the California Coastal Commission with local coordination byClean Marin, which includes various local partners such as the Marin County Stormwater Pollution Prevention Program (MCSTOPPP). Marin County Parks, another partner of the annual event, will not be coordinating volunteer groups this year, as they have in the past, due to the pandemic. The redefined goal this September is for people to conduct self-guided cleanup efforts in their own neighborhoods and local nature sites.
“Beach cleanup starts at our own front doors,” said Rob Carson, Stormwater Program Administrator of MCSTOPPP. “Trash enters the storm drains of our neighborhood streets and goes through our waterways out to the beach and the ocean. It’s a major cause of coastal pollution and one that we can work together to avoid.”
Some potential activities for families or housemates are picking up trash along streets, neighborhood parks, local creeks or shorelines that are close to home. People are encouraged to record their activities and data via the Clean Swell app or using the online portal, which will enable agencies to continue to monitor the success of the cleanup event.
“Over 750,000 gallons of trash have been picked up in Marin since Clean Marin became involved in the annual Coastal Cleanup event in January 2017,” said Howard Bunce, MCSTOPPP Engineering Assistant. “To put that into perspective, you could cover an entire football field 2.5 feet deep with that much trash. While that’s a lot of trash we’ve taken out of the pollution equation, there’s still a massive amount of ongoing work that needs to be done. It’s definitely a long-term community effort.”