Cleaning Day in Orange County stops garbage on its tracks before it reaches the open ocean – Orange County Register

Thousands of volunteers have moved from urban coves to sandy beaches and beyond with the same mission: to help keep the coast clean.

The collective effort in Orange County on Saturday, September 17 was part of the larger California Coastal Cleanup Day, which also coincides with International Coastal Cleanup Day, making it the largest volunteer effort on the planet.

Helpers not only scoured the sand to remove debris, but also parks, watersheds, rivers and lakes across the region as part of the Inner Coastal Cleanup, a way to stop litter before it flushes the catchment areas and in the ocean, where it becomes a threat to marine life and habitat.

The beaches needed some extra help, especially after the tropical storm that raged in the region a week ago, sending rain that swept garbage off the streets and sewers and out to the ocean. Many beaches this week had garbage littered on the waterline as the first major stream of water in months dragged debris onto the coast.

California Coastal Cleanup Day is hosted by the State Coastal Commission, which calculates the amount of debris from over 700 sites. Saturday marked his 38th year.

“These events really do more than help us catch huge amounts of trash before it enters the ocean,” said Coastal Commission Executive Director Jack Ainsworth. “They allow us to come together to celebrate our precious waterways and coastal resources as a community.”

Cleaning always includes a series of contests, such as a contest for who can find the most unusual item. It takes a few days for the full results to be counted, and this year people doing a self-cleaning this month can count their efforts towards goals across the state by downloading the CleanSwell app.

In Huntington Beach, OC Coastkeeper hosted hundreds of helpers who gathered to pick up trash from the sand, with an added surprise of large art installations, vendors and concessions. There was also a mermaid encounter at the event.

In Newport Beach, the helpers got their hands dirty at the Upper Newport Bay watershed, an important ecosystem where saltwater and freshwater mix to create a unique habitat for wildlife.

Further inland, many events took place as part of the 19th annual inland coastal cleanup event. In Bree, just one of several planned cleanups, volunteers scoured the Brea Creek Canal to clear the watershed of garbage.

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