SM BEACH — Santa Monica-based environmental watchdog Heal The Bay is looking for a few good men and women to help keep Southern California waters safe, healthy and clean by participating in Coastal Cleanup Day.
Volunteers are needed from all across Los Angeles County on Sept. 15 from 9 a.m. to noon to help pick up cigarette butts, plastic bags, old food containers and other garbage that washes up or is left behind on beaches and banks. Heal the Bay has been mobilizing volunteers since 1990, offering people the chance to make an impact in their communities.
There will be approximately 60 coastal and inland cleanup sites, spanning close to 100 square miles, officials with Heal the Bay said Thursday. No special training or equipment is necessary, however, organizers are encouraging volunteers to go “zero waste” and bring their own buckets, reusable bags and gloves to pick up trash.
Some volunteers can choose to kayak, mountain bike and scuba dive to remove debris from local beaches, rivers, parks and streets.
As part of a global effort, Coastal Cleanup Day volunteers around the world last year collected enough food packaging to get takeout for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day for the next 858 years, according to the Ocean Conservancy, which spearheads Coastal Cleanup Day worldwide each year.
In Los Angeles last year, more than 11,000 volunteers removed 44,000 pounds of debris. An estimated 80 percent of L.A. litter that ends up in the ocean starts out on land, poisoning marine life, spoiling water quality and public health as it wreaks havoc on the ecosystem and local economies, according to Heal the Bay.
In addition to an appearance by luchador Blue Demon, Jr., this year’s Coastal Cleanup Day highlights include a cleanup at the historic African-American Bay Street Beach in Santa Monica, sometimes known as the “Inkwell.”
The city beach site was a popular hangout for African Americans from the 1920s to the early 1960s, long after racial restrictions on public beaches were invalidated in 1927. Santa Monica Conservancy docents will educate volunteers about the history of the site. Volunteers will also learn about environmental concerns at Bay Street Beach.
The first 100 people who volunteer at that site will receive a free ticket to the Jazz for the Environment Concert at EarthFest L.A. 2012 at 2 p.m. in Culver City at West L.A. College.
Those who want to get a little exercise in while cleaning up the environment have plenty of options.
Scuba-certified divers will get a chance to clear underwater debris at dive sites at Leo Carrillo State Beach, Redondo Beach and the Santa Monica and Malibu piers. Kayakers are welcome to join the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission for a kayak cleanup in Marina del Rey, with registration required.
New for 2012 is a mountain bike site, co-sponsored by Mountains Restoration Trust, where cyclists can help haul out junk from an area in the Malibu Creek Watershed that’s difficult to reach on foot.
An online map of all cleanup sites with registration information can be found at http://www.healthebay.org/ccd2012.
In addition there will be three Code Red cleanup sites this year. Huge swaths of Los Angeles County drain to these highly urbanized sites, which are swamped with tons of harmful trash and debris, such as plastic bags, organizers said. Volunteers can make a huge impact at these “Code Red” locations, which this year include: Dominguez Channel (Artesia Transit Center and Wilmington Marinas) and Ken Malloy Harbor Regional Park.
All ages and physical abilities are welcome. To sign up, visit
http://ccd12.eventbrite.com/ or call Heal the Bay at (310) 451-1500.