Coastal Cleanup Day a Sweeping Success
From 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Ocean Beach was a swarming buzz of energy. Thousands of volunteers showed up to participate in the 26th annual California Coastal Clean-Up Day to help beautify the city’s beaches. Armed with bright plastic bags, latex gloves and good attitudes, around 2,650 volunteers picked up trash from beaches in the city, from Ocean Beach to Crissy Field.
“Fantastic. Amazing,” was how Denise Shea, associate director of volunteer management for the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, described the success of the day. “There was a great turnout. The good weather definitely helped. People who came out to enjoy the nice beach day ended up volunteering spontaneously, which says a lot about this community.”
At almost every dune crossing along Ocean Beach was a table sponsored by a corporation, local nonprofit group or community organization, registering volunteers and handing out the tools to clean the beach. Many of the volunteers brought their own bags and gloves. One of the biggest local sponsors was Recology, also known as Sunset Scavenger, which donated debris boxes for the trash. After the event, Recology will sift through the debris and sort it to divert much of what was collected from the beach from ending up in a landfall. Last year, using this technique Recology was able to divert 50 percent of the gathered waste away from the landfills.
“The ocean needs a lot of help,” said 17-year old Nadia Pershay, a local resident who showed up with her mother to clean. “A lot of small pieces of plastic end up here, which are dangerous to wildlife who eat them and falsely believe that they are full. I wanted to help.”