Bay Area celebrates International Coastal Cleanup Day

Volunteers armed themselves with gardening gloves and refillable mugs for complimentary coffee, as well as decomposable garbage bags and buckets, in hopes to change a statistic, Saturday morning.

The 2016 World Economic Forum estimated that given our projected plastic use, “there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050.”

“Events like Coastal Cleanup Day not only keep our beaches beautiful, but a mission of ours is to educate the public on the impact they can have no matter how small the action,” said Max Ernst, the president of San Francisco’s chapter of the Surfrider Foundation. “Every single-use plastic we refuse is one less that ends up in a landfill.”

The San Francisco chapter of the Surfrider Foundation hosted a cleanup at Baker Beach.

SF State student, Nat Burke, is an active member in the Surfrider Foundation.

Burke believes that people get overwhelmed by the global issues of ocean pollution and freeze up when it comes to action. “Cleaning up a local beach is a good way to break through that, ” said Burke.

True to the spirit of Bay Area activism, there was no shortage of organized cleanups to attend. This year, Marin County hosted 43 registered beach cleanups alone.  

The Ecocenter at Heron’s Head Park scoured for trash to clean the 22-acre bird sanctuary. Volunteers that shared their experience on social media were entered in a raffle for an exclusive behind-the-scenes at the Aquarium of the Bay, according to the event’s website.

In the East Bay, The Watershed Project, an environmental organization, donned their boots and got muddy in Albany, California and at Shimada Friendship Park in Richmond, California with a free barbeque for volunteers.

At Ocean Beach, the Golden Gate Conservancy had a tremendous task on their hands with the largest area to cover of all organized coastal cleanups in the Bay Area, measuring 3.5 miles long.

In the three decades since the second saturday in September was recognized as International Coastal Cleanup Day, 210 million pounds of trash has been collected, according to Ocean Conservancy’s website.

Eva Holman was the Surfrider’s Foundation 2016 activist of the year. She got involved with the organization 10 years ago when she realized her daily beach cleanups at Baker Beach were not enough.

When people recognize the patterns of plastic items they pick up over and over again, straws, cigarette butts, water bottles, plastic food wraps and bags, they start to make a connection about how changing our behavior around the use of single use plastic can directly impact the ocean,” said Holman.\

[/media-credit] An empty beer can is littered at Ocean Beach in San Francisco on Wednesday, September 13, 2017. (Golden Gate Xpress/Cristabell Fierros)

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