Thousands of volunteers from Santa Monica and beyond will forgo catching up on sleep Saturday, instead choosing to collaborate on a crucial cleanup effort.
Beginning at 9 a.m. on Saturday, nonprofit organization Heal the Bay will be hosting Coastal Cleanup Day across the greater Los Angeles Area, with more than 60 public and private sites scheduled for sprucing. The annual event helps in cleaning up beach locations along the county coastline, such as Santa Monica; along with tidying schools, neighborhoods, mountain hiking paths, rivers and creeks.
Last year’s event gathered 4,583 volunteers, removing a colossal 11,298 pounds of trash from watersheds, neighborhoods and the coastline, as well as 313 pounds of recyclables. At the Santa Monica Pier, 395 volunteers joined the 2022 edition, the third-most volunteers of any site in California. The Will Rogers State Beach cleanup site brought 250 volunteers, the fifth-most in the state.
The 2023 edition is shaping up to be just as impactful, with several sites for volunteers to join in Santa Monica. Cleanup sites along the coastline will be at Tower 1550 just north of the Santa Monica Pier, along with sites at Tower 21 and Ocean Park Boulevard south of the Pier. The Will Rogers State Beach cleanup site will be hosted at Tower 7.
The annual cleanup began on the Oregon Coast in 1984, and expanded to California in 1985 via the California Coastal Commission. Nearly 2,500 California volunteers participated in the first cleanup, and the event has grown exponentially from there, climbing to over 17 million volunteers over the past 37 years. Coastal Cleanup Day has been joined by over 100 countries, with over 348 million pounds of trash collected thus far.
“For generations, Californians have demonstrated their love and dedication to our coast during Coastal Cleanup Day,” said California Coastal Commission 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.”
The theme for the 2023 endeavor is using self-expression, local knowledge and collective strength to make a local impact. Heal the Bay is also hopeful that the cleanup can make a dent into water quality issues arising from monumental rainfall earlier this year. Including cleaning up neighborhood trash to prevent marine debris.
“While this past deluge of winter rain has brought relief to our parched region after years of drought, it also brings concern for water quality as rain water makes its way through the city, bringing pollutants and trash to our waterways and beaches,” the nonprofit noted. “Healthy rivers and coasts are the keys to a healthy planet from summit to sea.”
The day won’t be all work and no play, though, as cleanup sites will have on-site activities and giveaways for volunteers. After the cleanup, Heal the Bay will host “Trash Talk LIVE,” a virtual and in-person wrap-up broadcast from the Heal the Bay Aquarium underneath the Pier.