California Coastal Cleanup Day Goes Global

Last year the park district had more than 4,100 volunteers collect 23.15 tons of garbage

NBC 5 News

California Coastal Cleanup Day is expected to draw thousands of volunteers to Bay Area beaches, shorelines, and inland waterways Saturday morning.

Volunteers toting buckets and donning gloves will be picking up trash, debris and other discarded items between 9 a.m. and noon at various  sites as part of the 28th annual cleanup, which coincides with the  International Coastal Cleanup.

The international cleanup effort through Ocean Conservancy will take place in more than 100 countries, making Saturday one of the largest volunteer events in the world.

The California Coastal Commission, which heads the statewide cleanup effort, recorded more than 1.3 million pounds of debris collected from all counties in 2011.

In the Bay Area, ocean advocacy group Save Our Shores is participating in the cleanup this year with 80 sites throughout Santa Cruz and Monterey counties and expects as many as 5,000 volunteers to come out.

Three easy steps to participate in Coastal Cleanup Day:

  1. Find a Cleanup:

    Cleanups take place along bays, creeks, rivers, highways, and the coast throughout California. Select the area that you would like to help clean and then contact the local coordinator.

    If there is no cleanup scheduled in your area, you can volunteer to set one up - call (800) COAST-4U or e-mail

    Everyone who participates in Coastal Cleanup Day must sign a waiver form - they will be available at all cleanup locations or you can sign one and bring it with you. If you are under 18, you will need a parent or guardian signature before participating. Read our safety page for more information.

  2. Show Up:

    Come to the Cleanup prepared for the weather (hat, shoes, sunscreen), but everything else you need (bags, gloves, data cards, pencils, etc.) will be available on site. You can help us reduce the waste we create at Coastal Cleanup Day 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. You can also bring your own work gloves and reusable water bottle. Help move us closer to being a zero waste event.

  3. Clean Up:

    Pick up every bit of human-made debris you can find, and record what you remove. Data collection is important! Your data goes into Ocean Conservancy's international database, used to identify the sources of debris, and help devise solutions to the marine debris problem. Be sure to return trash, recyclables and your data card to the site captain after the cleanup.

In Oakland, the annual "Creek to Bay Day" will clean up and beautify Lake Merritt, the Oakland Estuary and creeks throughout the city.

In addition to picking up trash, volunteers in Oakland will be removing invasive plants and planting native California species, city event  coordinators said.

Elsewhere in the East Bay and Alameda County, the East Bay Regional Park District is hosting cleanup sites at its various parks. Last  year the park district had more than 4,100 volunteers collect 23.15 tons of garbage from 16 sites in Livermore, Hayward, Oakland, Alameda, Richmond,  Martinez and elsewhere.

In Contra Costa County, Supervisor John Gioia is holding a cleanup  along the San Francisco Bay shoreline in Richmond and has invited a speaker  to reflect on her life living plastic-free.

Further south, the Santa Clara Valley Water District will be part of a volunteer effort at 43 Santa Clara County sites, many in San Jose and in county parks and recreation areas.

Further up the peninsula, Redwood City is sprucing up Redwood Creek along with some city streets as part of a simultaneous fall cleanup day in the city, followed by a barbecue for participants at 1400 Broadway in  Redwood City.

Along the Point Reyes National Seashore in Marin County a beach cleanup is scheduled at Drakes Beach between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. The  family-friendly community service event features a "Bling Your Bucket" competition and a pirate costume contest.

For more information about Coastal Cleanup Day, visit

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