Over 35 years ago the NEC received federal funding for its Humboldt Beach Beautification and Restoration project, which combined beach cleanups with community education and job training. In 1985, the NEC’s project expanded into the statewide California Coastal Cleanup Day (led by the Coastal Commission) and the International Coastal Cleanup (led by the Ocean Conservancy). Today, the International Coastal Cleanup includes 130 countries and all 50 states in the U.S.
To raise awareness and prompt volunteers to register for this year’s statewide cleanup, the California Coastal Commission has launched a Countdown to Trash Extinction campaign. In the days leading up to Coastal Cleanup Day, the Northcoast Environmental Center in conjunction with the Coastal Commission will post information on facebook page to enlist residents in learning about the trash that litters our coast and inland shorelines: what it is, why it’s so damaging to our aquatic and coastal environments, and what they can do to help keep trash out of our environment throughout the year.
While some of the garbage contaminating the sea originates from cargo ships, cruise liners, and military vessels disposing of waste overboard, an estimated 60-80 percent of beach garbage originates on land. Cigarette butts, plastic bags, fishing line, six-pack rings, bottles, cans, syringes, and tires are just a few of the items commonly found polluting beaches and waterways. Coastal Cleanup Day not only provides a way for tens of thousands of participants to remove trash from our environments, but also reinforces that each of us, as consumers of goods and producers of those goods, has a responsibility to reduce, prevent, and clean up marine debris.
This year’s event will coincide with the NEC’s fourth Japan Tsunami Debris monitoring event of the year.
Coastal Cleanup Day 2013 will take place on Saturday, Sept. 21 from 9 a.m. to noon and they are still seeking volunteers. For those who cannot attend, the Northcoast Environmental Center maintains a calendar of other beach cleanup and monitoring events throughout the year. For more information on the cleanup or the NEC’s Adopt-A-Beach program, please visit www.yournec.org.
For more information on the Let’s Make Trash Extinct campaign, please visit www.coastalcleanupday.org. You can also follow the NEC and the Coastal Commission on facebook.