South Orange County residents looking to participate in the 39th annual California Coastal Cleanup Day will have ample opportunity to volunteer in their community.
Beach and waterway cleanups in Dana Point, San Clemente and San Juan Capistrano scheduled for Sept. 23 are among the hundreds expected to occur throughout California, promoting awareness of marine debris and encouraging ocean and waterway stewardship.
Since 1985, California Coastal Cleanup Day has worked to keep local beaches free of plastics, trash and other debris.
Orange County Coastkeeper Communications Director Matt Sylvester explained that Coastal Cleanup Day offers Orange County residents both inland and along the coast “a chance to give back to the beaches and wildlife we all love.”
“Community cleanups are critical in protecting Orange County’s coastal ecosystem from trash,” Sylvester said in an email. “They are the last line of defense before debris pollutes the ocean. People are often shocked that a two-hour trash cleanup can result in hundreds, even thousands of pounds of trash being removed from our waterways.”
Dana Point residents have a variety of cleanup events from which to choose.
Stand Up to Trash will host its monthly beach cleanup at Baby Beach and the Ocean Institute. The nonprofit promotes ocean stewardship and environmental education through its monthly Beach Cleanup and Lunch & Learn. Each event is centered around a different theme, featuring talks that highlight the theme.
Stand Up to Trash founder and President Vicki Patterson explained that the environmental nonprofit aims to “raise awareness of the over-consumption and throw-away lifestyle that has led to the ocean pollution crisis we are facing today and combat it with individual and collective solutions that fit our community.”
“Nothing is more eye-opening than experiencing the pollution crisis firsthand at a beach cleanup,” Patterson continued. “We teach the human impact on our oceans and what you can do to not only prevent it but what you can do right now.”
Surfrider Foundation’s South OC Chapter will be hosting a cleanup at Salt Creek Beach in celebration of California Coastal Cleanup Day.
The annual coastal cleanup day “is one of our largest, coordinated beach clean programs supported by the California Coastal Commission and other statewide NGOs including the 17 Surfrider chapters and 40 student clubs in California,” Surfrider Foundation South OC Chapter Coordinator Denise Erkeneff said in an email.
“The South OC Chapter has participated from the first annual international coastal cleanup to present day, and this event at Salt Creek Beach is one of our largest chapter beach cleans,” Erkeneff continued. “This year’s event is also sponsored by OC Parks and the Sonance Foundation.”
The local Surfrider Foundation chapter will provide materials for the cleanup, light bites and water receptacles for refilling reusable bottles.
To learn more, sign up and fill out waivers in advance, visit volunteer.surfrider.org.
In San Juan Capistrano, residents can lend a hand in cleaning up the San Juan and Arroyo Trabuco creeks and Descanso Park. Volunteers will gather at the two creeks from 9 a.m. to noon.
Coastkeeper encourages volunteers to bring a water bottle, reusable gloves, bags or buckets, trash pickers and sunscreen, though the organization will provide bags and gloves for participants who do not bring their own.
Volunteers looking to help clean Descanso Park are encouraged to park at the city employee parking lot.
Those interested in lending a hand to clean San Juan Creek and Doheny State Beach will receive a parking pass upon check-in, which is valid until 12:30 p.m.
For more information, to reserve a spot or to sign a waiver to participate in the cleanup, visit eventbrite.com or OC Coastkeeper’s website.
In San Clemente, cleanups are scheduled at the pier and T-Street.
Hosted by Orange County Coastkeeper, the cleanup at T-street is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. to noon at the intersection of Esplanade and Cristobal. As with most of Coastkeeper’s cleanups, gloves, bags and trash grabbers will be available for shared use; however, the organization encourages volunteers to bring their own water bottle, reusable gloves and bags or buckets.
Those interested in volunteering at T-Street can sign up at eventbrite.com or visit OC Coastkeeper’s website.
The City of San Clemente, OC Coast Keepers and the Masons of California will also host a cleanup at the San Clemente Pier. Free burritos will be provided by the Fisherman’s Restaurant following the cleanup for those registered. There is no free parking for the pier cleanup.