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Thousands of Orange County Volunteers Fight Coastal Pollution with World’s Largest Beach Clean Up

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On September 15, thousands of Orange County residents made their favorite beaches sparkle for the world’s largest trash cleanup event: Coastal Cleanup Day.

Orange County beaches and waterways collect trash that travels from inland communities via the county’s rivers and storm drains. Beach cleanups stand as a last line of defense to prevent this debris from polluting the ocean and its wildlife. Orange County’s cleanup sites are part of California Coastal Cleanup Day, which is organized by the California Coastal Commission. This statewide event is part of the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup, the largest volunteer event on the planet.

On Saturday, more than 4,500 Orange County clean water warriors joined us at 40 cleanup sites throughout the county, removing a total of 25,000 pounds of trash and recyclable materials from Orange County beaches and waterways.

Last year, more than 7,000 Orange County volunteers collected a record-breaking 70,485 pounds of trash and recyclable materials during the three-hour event. Some of the most obscure findings included wigs, a flute, car parts and more.

“Most people are unaware that nearly 80 percent of trash found on beaches comes from inland sources,” says Patrick Irizarry, Orange County Coastkeeper’s volunteer coordinator. “At Coastal Cleanup Day, thousands of residents  get an up-close look at how everyday trash impacts our environment.”

 

At the cleanup, local artist Katie Peck l showcased original artwork made entirely out of collected trash. A regular Coastkeeper volunteer, Peck was selected to be the art director of the sixth international marine debris conference held by National Oceanic Atmospheric Association and UN Environment in March 2018. Her latest installation features a life-size albatross made of cigarette butts. Attendance was free and supplies were provided.

This event was made possible by partner sponsors: Hobie Surf Shop, Irvine Ranch Water District, Noble Biocare, King’s Seafood Company and Moulton Niguel Water District. Coastkeeper received in-kind donations from Rubio’s, Simply Straws and Municipal Water District of Orange County.

Photo Credit: OC Coastkeeper

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ORANGE COUNTY COASTKEEPER: Orange County Coastkeeper is a member of the International Waterkeeper Alliance, which has 236 different independent programs across 29 countries. Founded in 1999, the mission of Coastkeeper is to protect and promote sustainable water resources that are swimmable, drinkable, and fishable. Coastkeeper is a nonprofit clean water organization that serves as a proactive steward of our fresh- and saltwater ecosystems. We work collaboratively with diverse groups in the public and private sectors to achieve healthy, accessible, and sustainable water resources for the region. We implement innovative, effective programs in education, advocacy, restoration, research, enforcement, and conservation. For more information, visit www.coastkeeper.org or call 714-850-1965.

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