Coastal cleanup proves we’re gross


Saturday’s statewide coastal cleanup verified a couple things: 1) we dirty; 2) we’ve got hearts of gold.

More than 57,000 volunteers showed up to their local creek, beach, river and lake to pick up a lot of frickin’ trash. Like, 320 tons of it. Sponsored by the Ocean Conservancy, the 28th annual California Coastal Cleanup spanned 850 locations across the state.

In just one day, hardworking do-gooders cleared out 534,115 pounds of trash and 105,816 pounds of recyclable materials.

More interesting finds included refrigerator doors, an old love letter and a life-size Santa Claus lawn decoration found near a San Jose river.

Eben Schwartz, marine debris program manager for the Coastal Commission, told the Merc that witnessing the volunteers’ effort warmed his heart:

“We got a lot of trash out of the environment, and we kept it from getting into the ocean, which will be a great benefit for the marine environment and our own health.”

Since the annual event began 25 years ago, 145 million pounds of debris have been collected internationally. Last year’s California cleanup saw the removal of 1.3 million pounds of trash.

Here’s the rundown of how the Bay Area did:

San Mateo County: 4,029 volunteers/ 21,679 lbs trash/ 5,685 lbs recyclables

Alameda County: 3,475 volunteers/ 23,765 lbs trash/ 3,352 lbs recyclables

Santa Clara County: 1,643 volunteers/ 35,423 lbs trash/ 9,388 lbs recyclables

Contra Costa County: 2,980 volunteers/ 14,000 lbs trash/ 2,000 lbs recyclables

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