2018: A trashy year

More items collected in spite of plastic bag ban

The not-so-classy side of San Diego (credit: San Diego Coastkeeper).
  • The not-so-classy side of San Diego (credit: San Diego Coastkeeper).

Between San Diego Coastkeeper and the San Diego chapter of the Surfrider Foundation, there will be some forty cleanup events this year. Add other organizations like the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve, Creek to Bay, and those busy on California Cleanup Day, and there are plenty opportunities for those that wish to assist in the effort.

Past Event

Beach Cleanup

  • Saturday, January 19, 2019, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
  • Moonlight Beach, 200 B Street, Encinitas
  • Free

For 2018, the tally per piece shows the majority of litter gathered by volunteers is plastic— bags, straws, cups, styrofoam, food wrappers and containers— representing 52.8% of the trash collected. Cigarette butts represent 26.1% of litter.

The most litter by weight (2,767 pounds) was removed from Fiesta Island. Second and third place were Mission Beach and Oceanside. By count, there were 46,850 more items collected in 2018 than during 2017, partially due to an increase in volunteers and in spite of the plastic bag ban beginning in 2016. That’s just for the San Diego Coastkeeper sponsored events.

Along with the usual discarded items above, Coastkeeper volunteers are asked to keep a list of unusual items collected. So much of that is collected that it was renamed “usual unusual” litter. Glow sticks went from unusual to common with 934 of them collected in 2018.

Taking a bag to fill at the beach is not a hard thing to do. And if you want to get involved, this Saturday from 9 am to 11 am The Surfrider Foundation will be hosting a cleanup at Moonlight Beach in Encinitas.

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