It’s a day that brings in over 600,000 volunteers from all over the world. Last year 90+ countries participated in this worldwide event!
What day am I talking about?
Coastal Cleanup Day!
Every year on the 3rd Saturday in September, volunteers flock to our waterways to help cleanup all the waste left behind by our fellow man.
In 2014, an astounding 16 million pounds of trash was collected! 16 million……in just one day!!!
That’s alarming to say the least, but seeing all the people who offered up their Saturday to help clean the beach is a wonderful sight indeed!
The volunteers come from all walks of life. Scuba divers, school groups, families, and retirees all come together to help make a difference and reverse some of the damage we have done to our beautiful beaches, rivers, and lakes.
Why This Day is Important
Over the past 11 years living in LA along with my never-ending wanderlust to go abroad, I have seen my fair share of beaches. Some are immaculate with their white sand and crystal clear waters. Others are a far cry from the picturesque scenes you will find in travel magazines, but both have one thing in common……trash.
Let’s face it…..humans are messy creatures!
No matter how upscale the beach might be if there are people, then there will be trash.
In Malaysia and Indonesia, there was a steady flow of trash everywhere.
I saw build ups clogging the rivers that flowed out to the ocean. Piles of rubbish were left in the sand to be blown away or washed out with the rising tide.
When we were on the boat heading out to Pom Pom Island, there was not a single moment that I didn’t see at least one piece of trash in the water. Plastic bottles, food wrappers, cigarette butts….you name it, I saw it.
Summertime in LA calls for countless family BBQs and group get togethers. If you don’t get to the beach early, it’s almost impossible to find a spot to set up camp for the day. Now think about all those people and the amount of waste being created.
During beach cleanups, I would see endless amounts of styrofoam fragments and plastic bags lying in the sand.
Last year for Coastal Cleanup Day, I joined a group to dive around the base of the Redondo Beach Pier and clean the mess that lies underneath.
We gathered numerous yards of fishing line, credit cards, skateboards, and the most interesting item…..a buddha statue!
All of this trash is not only destroying these beautiful locations for the future generations to enjoy, but it is extremely harmful to the surrounding wildlife.
They ingest it. They become entangled in it. Chemicals leak out of it and contaminate their habitats.
Sometimes humans intervene and manage to save them, but more times than not, the animals will perish.
We cannot keep ignoring the impact we are having on our planet. We have to take responsibility for our actions and help reverse the damage caused over the years.
There are many ways you can help combat our planet’s waste build up. Recycling and opting for reusable products are always a good start. When you are out in nature or on the beach, take a bag with you to collect any loose trash you may come across and dispose of it properly.
And always keep a reusable shopping bag handy to avoid being given, what has been called “the tumble weed of the 21st century”, a plastic bag at checkout.
You can also check your community calendars and sign up for scheduled group cleanups, which brings me back to Coastal Cleanup Day!
September 19, which is next Saturday, marks this year’s Coastal Cleanup Day, so if you don’t have anything planned yet, Google your area and find out where the closest group near you is meeting up. Even if you are too far from a beach, you might find a cleanup at a nearby river or lake, so let’s all put on our gloves and go clean up our waterways!
Looking for a cleanup near you? Check out the links below for listings.