Close to home, socially distanced and armed with personal protective equipment and cleanup supplies, San Diego County volunteers came out in force over the weekend with I Love A Clean San Diego for the 36th annual Coastal Cleanup Day. There were 7,823 registered volunteers by 9 a.m. This represents an increase of 200 volunteers from 2019.
There were a total of 123 volunteers from Escondido Zip codes.
This year, I Love A Clean San Diego relied on volunteers to self-report their litter totals.
The reported totals were lower compared to prior years due to the smaller, decentralized efforts. However, organizers I Love A Clean San Diego applaud the large number of volunteers who registered to cleanup in their communities throughout San Diego County.
“I think it is fair to San Diego County’s volunteers are cleanup heavyweights,” said Lauren Short the event’s manager with I Love A Clean San Diego. “We piloted the virtually hosted cleanup event last June with the countywide Creek to Bay Cleanup, but we still weren’t sure what to expect with Coastal Cleanup Day. I’m so proud of the volunteers and how they showed up in a tough year – it’s truly phenomenal.”
Since Coastal Cleanup Day’s inception, over 970,000 volunteers with I Love A Clean San Diego have helped clear over 16 million pounds of litter and debris from the region.
The new litter problem
COVID-19 has not only caused a human health crisis; the response is causing environmental damage.
Disposable personal protective equipment (PPE) in the form of masks and gloves stand out among the 2020 litter totals. These items had not been tracked in the past. It is estimated about 200 billion disposable masks and gloves are being used each month around the globe.
Once banned plastic grocery bags are also marring the county’s landscape.
Cigarette butts and plastic still the top environmental pollutants
For the 36th year in row, cigarette butts, which are plastic, and plastic in all its forms remains the chief polluters. From food wrappers to cups and water bottles to fast-food containers, discarded single-use plastics never go away and break down into microplastics that infect the planet forever.
About Coastal Cleanup Day
I Love A Clean San Diego has been the official organizer of Coastal Cleanup Day in San Diego County since it was founded in 1985. The event is a major part of International Coastal Cleanup, which is facilitated by The Ocean Conservancy and includes many U.S. states and territories, and over 70 countries. Within California, Coastal Cleanup Day is a partnership between the California Coastal Commission, nonprofit groups, cities and counties throughout the state. San Diego County Volunteers are joining hundreds of thousands of volunteers all over the world in the removal of pollution from our connected ecosystems.
For more information, to volunteer or donate, visit CleanSD.org or call (619) 291-0103. Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.