Surfrider: The Surfrider Foundation is recruiting volunteers to clean beaches on July 5. Courtesy photo

Brynn Shaffer / Daily Press Intern

As we approach the height of summer, California beaches tend to see an increase in visitors, and in return, an unfortunate rise in debris as July 5 has become statistically the dirtiest beach day of the year.

This Tuesday, Santa Monica residents are invited to participate in Surfrider’s annual July 5 beach cleanup at Sunset Point in the Pacific Palisades from 4-5:30 p.m.

“While the Fourth of July is an awesome holiday, and a great time to celebrate our country’s independence, it also coincides with longer days and typically nicer beach weather, so a lot of folks are excited to spend the day down on our coasts,” said Newara Brosnan-Faltas, manager of the Los Angeles Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation. “And, unfortunately for our marine environments, many of the celebrations on the beach are dependent on single-use plastics, and oftentimes those don’t make it into a trash can, or the trash can blows over, and they really end up littering our beaches.”

The Surfrider Foundation will be providing all of the equipment needed, from trash grabbers to a hydration station and sunscreen. After the cleanup is over, Surfrider will be hosting somewhat of an “afterparty” at Boardriders Malibu, with tacos and beer, as well as a giveaway.

“Sunset Point in particular is a beach and a coastline that really needs lots of love and attention,” said Brosnan-Faltas. “We, on average, will pick up anywhere from 400 to 500 lbs of trash in just a couple of hours there…it’s one of our most polluted sites.”

Last July 5, Surfrider chapters hosted 14 cleanups where 436 volunteers removed 1,719 lbs of trash and recycling from beaches and waterways around the country, according to their website.

Whether you’re able to make the July 5 beach cleanup or not, there are tons of ways beachgoers can limit their individual impact like choosing reusables over single-use plastics and being conscious of packing trash. 

“Following the leave-no-trace principle is a really good practice,” said Brosnan-Faltas. “I know that sometimes when we’re walking down the beach, we can notice trash and kind of have this internal dialogue inside where we’re like, ‘well, that’s not ours. I’m not going to pick it up.’ But, I think we all have to shift our framework into starting to think about trash on our beaches as a collective responsibility.” 

The Surfrider Foundation is a nonprofit organization, fighting for the protection and enjoyment of the world’s ocean, waves and beaches for all people, highlighting five main areas: plastic reduction, ocean protection, beach access, coastal preservation and clean water.

Founded in 1984 when a handful of local surfers in Malibu banded together to protect their home break at Surfrider Beach, they have since grown into an international organization with a strong presence, consisting of over 75 chapters and 100 student clubs worldwide.

For those interested in getting involved with the Surfrider Foundation, you can visit https://la.surfrider.org and sign up to volunteer.