SM BAY — Santa Monica-based environmental watchdog Heal the Bay is calling on those concerned about the region’s waterways to volunteer for the 21st annual Coastal Cleanup Day.

The effort will take place Saturday, Sept. 25, organizers with Heal the Bay said Tuesday.

Tens of thousands of Southland residents are expected to mobilize from 9 a.m. to noon at more than 60 cleanup sites, from Compton to Malibu. Volunteers will canvass beaches, parks, creeks, lakes, highways and alleys to remove ocean-bound trash and beautify neighborhoods.

“The ocean needs us now more than ever and we all have a duty to protect it,” said Eveline Bravo, beach programs manager for Heal the Bay, which organizes Coastal Cleanup Day in Los Angeles County. “A single day of concerted action and education can make a world of difference.”

Coastal Cleanup Day volunteers have collected more than 1 million pounds of trash in Los Angeles County since 1990s inaugural event, equaling roughly the weight of a fully loaded Boeing 747 jumbo jet. By removing debris from beaches and inland neighborhoods, cleanup participants reduce blight, protect marine animals and bolster the regional economy, said Matthew King, a spokesman for Heal the Bay.

Linking with similar rehabilitation efforts around the globe, Coastal Cleanup Day participants can take satisfaction in joining the world’s biggest single-day volunteer event. Attendees will receive hands-on education about the easy steps they can take throughout the year to keep local watersheds clean and build community pride.

Five “Code Red” locations in need of special attention this year are Dominguez Channel, Ken Malloy Harbor Regional Park, Los Angeles River and Encino’s Haskell Creek. These urban sites drain runoff from huge swaths of Los Angeles County and are overwhelmed by such litter as plastic bags and fast-food packaging, King said.

Some 61 sites have been confirmed this year, including 25 inland locations. There will be SCUBA dive sites in Santa Monica, Redondo Beach and Leo Carrillo state beach and a kayak effort in Marina Del Rey. A Google map of all cleanup sites can be found at www.healthebay.org/ccd

Coastal Cleanup Day sponsor Subaru will be hosting special test drive and sweepstakes events throughout the county to benefit Heal the Bay and raise awareness about the cleanup. Among other community building activities planned: Give Back to the Beach — a food truck festival, the LA Craft Beer Crawl curated by food critic Jonathan Gold, as well as a sunrise yoga session and three electronic waste drop-off/recycling collections. For event times and locations, information can be found at www.healthebay.org/ccd/whatsnew

Heal the Bay seeks volunteers of all ages and physical abilities. No special equipment or experience is necessary. Site captains will organize a diverse mix of individuals, families, neighborhoods, community groups, schools, faith-based groups, sports teams and businesses, King said.

Participants are encouraged to bring their own bucket or reusable bag and gloves from home this year to collect debris. The “BYO to CC” campaign hopes to reduce the waste created by the distribution of single-use disposable clean-up supplies.

Heal the Bay organizes Coastal Cleanup Day in Los Angeles County in partnership with the California Coastal Commission. The L.A. campaign is part of a global international event led by the Ocean Conservancy that encompasses 6 million volunteers in 90 countries and all U.S. states. The day has been recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s biggest 24-hour volunteer event.

This year’s sponsors include Union Bank of California, the Grousbeck Foundation, KTLA5, the city of Santa Monica, Neutrogena, ClifBar and Subaru.

news@www.smdp.com

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