Monday, December 22, 2008

Save The Bay does Coastal Cleanup Day

by Jocelyn Gretz, Community Programs Manager

Originally posted on September 26, 2008

Photo by Adrienne Miller

Last weekend Save The Bay hosted five Coastal Cleanup Day events in four counties ringing the Bay. Coyote Creek and the Guadalupe River in San Jose, Eden Landing Ecological Reserve in Hayward, the Martin Luther King Jr. Shoreline Park in Oakland and Mission Creek in San Francisco all got a little TLC from over 300 Save The Bay volunteers.

Coastal Cleanup Day started in Oregon in 1985 and California--with its sweeping coastline--was quick to join the following year, taking the lead ever since. Last year over 60,000 Californians volunteered out of an international total of 378,000! I suppose we could thank our long coastline and large population, but I think it might have more to do with the quality people of our state and their love for our aquatic resources.

I led 75 volunteers at Mission Creek in cleaning up trash from Giants fans, homeless encampments and runoff washed down from the watershed. We found plenty of the usual items like cigarette butts, needles and plastic bags, as well as unusual items like suitcases, car parts and electronic boards. I had to run around to keep up with the demand for bags and garbage bins, and not until the end of the three hours was actually able to pick up some trash myself. Our county coordinators at Literacy for Environmental Justice helped keep us stocked and indicated that all of their sites were maxing out on supplies--a good indicator that this year was much bigger than last year.

Our volunteers varied in ages, with high school students to octogenarians cleaning up their neighborhood waterways. Many groups like Building With Books, The Eden United Church of Christ, Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, UC Berkeley's Circle K Community Service club, and even employees from the Hard Rock Café joined our Bay-wide cleanups!

In total, we had 319 volunteers contributing 957 hours of service to the Bay collecting 11,000 pounds of trash and over 1,000 pounds of recycling. Statewide preliminary results indicate that 60,000 volunteers collected 635,000 pounds of trash and over 100,000 pounds of recycling. Thanks to all who showed up for the event! We're looking forward to another successful Coastal Cleanup Day event next year!

In the meantime, Save The Bay hosts monthly cleanup and restoration events at several sites around the Bay. And we are just about to start our winter planting season! Sign up to volunteer today!

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