Friday, September 25, 2009

Battin' Cleanup

By Amy Ricard, Communications and Policy Associate

Last week Save The Bay launched its 4th annual list of Bay Trash Hot Spots in anticipation of Coastal Cleanup Day to raise awareness about the trash problem in the Bay and to recruit volunteers to Coastal Cleanup events throughout the region.

This year, we put the spotlight on plastic bags; and even used last year's Coastal Cleanup Day data to help us determine the ten locations around the Bay where volunteers removed the most plastic bags. Not only are these ten spots choked with bag pollution, but they are indicative of a larger problem in the Bay. Plastic bags are ubiquitous -- literally, they are everywhere. And since they are so light and flimsy, they are easily picked up by the wind and blown into our storm drains and creeks, and eventually to our Bay and ocean where they harm wildlife, degrade habitat and spoil our quality of life.

Each year Save The Bay hosts several cleanup events and this year was no exception. We had teams out at three sites: Candlestick Park in San Francisco (one of our hot spots), Coyote Creek in Milpitas (also a hot spot) and Eden Landing in Hayward. Volunteers came out in droves -- 200 in total -- to help clean up the Bay. They were rewarded with an absolutely amazingly beautiful day and the gratification of a good, hard days work.

Here are the numbers:

Candlestick Park - 109 volunteers; 2,000 lbs of trash and recyclables
Eden Landing - 45 volunteers; a 20 yard dumpster and two truck beds of trash and recyclables
Coyote Creek - 46 volunteers; 450 lbs of trash and recyclables

And the latest from the California Coastal Commission, which oversees all Coastal Cleanup Day events for the entire state, is this: With 65% of the cleanup sites reporting, the statewide count stands at 66,550 volunteers, which should approach the event goal of 70,000 volunteers. Those volunteers picked up 819,394 pounds of trash and an additional 89,899 pounds of recyclable materials, for a total of 909,294 pounds. They expect to exceed 1,000,000 pounds of trash when all the totals are in. Not too shabby for three hours worth of work.

Save The Bay wants to thank all the volunteers in the Bay Area and statewide who donated their time to cleaning up our waterways, protecting habitat and wildlife.

If you are interested in protecting and restoring the shoreline year round, visit

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