Coastal Cleanup Month is underway in California. Cleanups are being held throughout the state during the month with the highlight being the 39th Annual California Coastal Cleanup Day on Saturday, Sept. 23. More than 50,000 volunteers are expected to gather at locations across California during the month, where they will help remove hundreds of tons of trash from beaches, creeks, rivers, lakes, and neighborhoods.
California Coastal Cleanup Day is the state’s largest annual volunteer event. Since 1985, over 1.7 million volunteers have helped remove more than 26 million pounds of trash from California’s beaches and inland shorelines. The event, which is part of the International Coastal Cleanup, organized by the Ocean Conservancy, serves as a vital opportunity for community members to help remove plastic pollution from the environment before the winter rains arrive and wash much of that debris out to the ocean through stormwater systems, creeks, and rivers.
In 2020, the Coastal Commission introduced a self-guided cleanup model in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Californians cleaned their neighborhoods, parks, and local natural areas to help prevent the flow of trash from our streets to the ocean. While 2023 marks the return to full capacity cleanup sites on the traditional single-day event on Sept. 23, the Commission maintains its commitment to encouraging cleanups throughout the month so the event is accessible for those that may not be available that Saturday morning or for whom traveling to their nearest cleanup site may prove difficult.
No matter the circumstances, Californians continue to show they care deeply about the environment by supporting the cleanup year after year. In 2022, over 38,000 volunteers turned out over the course of September, including at over 500 cleanup sites on Sept. 17, 2022. Together they removed over 300,000 pounds of trash and recyclables, covering well over 3,000 miles of California’s shorelines – all in a matter of hours.
“For generations, Californians have demonstrated their love and dedication to our coast during Coastal Cleanup Day,” said the Commission’s Executive Director Dr. Kate Huckelbridge. “The Coastal Commission is incredibly proud to provide an outlet for all Californians to express that dedication each year. We see how devoting only a few hours on a Saturday in September translates into a year-round commitment to the protection and preservation of our coast. We are grateful to all who share in this goal.”
California Coastal Cleanup Day has long been known for its innovative publicity campaigns and event posters. The 2023 cleanup continues this tradition with a campaign that speaks directly to the collective impact that volunteers have each year. Volunteers at Coastal Cleanup Day are never alone – they are one of dozens or hundreds at their cleanup site, one of thousands across their county, one of tens of thousands in the state, and one of hundreds of thousands around the world taking part in the same effort at essentially the same time. Created by San Francisco-based ad agency Barrett Hofherr on a pro bono basis, this year’s campaign features images of larger-than-life volunteers helping to clean up in iconic locations across California. This year’s theme, “You’re Bigger Than You Think,” speaks to the enormous effect that volunteers can have when they come together to accomplish a common goal.
To find out how to join the effort, the Commission has an interactive map of cleanup locations in every corner of the state, which is available at www.coastalcleanupday.org. Check the website for updates and share your cleanup experience on social media using the hashtag #coastalcleanupday.
Follow statewide efforts on Facebook at facebook.com/CaliforniaCoast, Twitter twitter.com/TheCACoast and on Instagram at instagram.com/thecaliforniacoast/.
California Coastal Cleanup Day event is presented by the California Coastal Commission with lead sponsorship from Crystal Geyser Alpine Spring Water by CG Roxane. Additional support comes from Oracle, the Whale Tail Specialty License Plate, the Protect our Coast and Oceans Fund, GreenPolly, and Kokolu. This year’s artwork was created and generously donated by Barrett Hofherr.
California Coastal Cleanup Day 2023 is supported by the California Coastal Commission, California State Parks Foundation, and Ocean Conservancy. This event is made possible by the hard work of hundreds of local non-profits and government agencies throughout the state and tens of thousands of volunteers annually.
The Commission is committed to protecting and enhancing California’s coast and ocean for present and future generations. It does so through careful planning and regulation of environmentally sustainable development, strong public participation, education, and effective intergovernmental coordination. The Coastal Cleanup Day Program is part of its effort to raise public awareness of marine and coastal resources and promote coastal stewardship.