Got Weekend Chores? We All Do on Coastal Cleanup Day


The weekend chores around our homes can wait. The sea is calling. And the bays, creeks, rivers, lakes, and reservoirs. The collective “we” left our trash behind in our waterways, and it needs to get cleaned up on Coastal Cleanup Day, Saturday, Sept. 15, from 9 a.m. to 12 noon.

The great thing about this chore? We get to do it amidst the natural beauty of our shorelines, side-by-side with thousands of neighbors.

Around the world on more than 20,000 miles of coastline, a half a million people are expected to pick up millions of pounds of trash on Coastal Cleanup Day, always held on the third Saturday in September. Last year volunteers recovered more than 9 million pounds, including 2 million pounds of cigarette butts, 1.1 million pounds of caps and lids, just over a million pounds of plastic beverage bottles, and just under a million pounds of plastic bags, according to the Ocean Conservancy.

In California we’re celebrating the 28th anniversary of Coastal Cleanup Day, billed as the largest single volunteer event in the state. According to state officials, more than 82,000 residents took part in 2010, picking up more than a million pounds of debris.

And here in the San Francisco Bay Area, we have a lot of cleanup to do: Save the Bay is expected to release its annual list of “trash hot spots” on Wednesday, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, with five waterways listed as the dirtiest in the region. Number one on the list is San Jose’s Coyote Creek, followed by the Damon Slough near Oakland, Baxter Creek in Richmond, San Tomas Aquino Creek in Santa Clara, and the Hayward Shoreline.

Dozens of other sites around the Bay Area need attention as well. Find a site on the California Coastal Commission website (scroll down to see an interactive map and a list of links to projects by county). Once you get to the list of projects in your county, you’ll be able to see what sites are still taking volunteers. Signup on line to ensure your spot on Saturday. You’ll also be able to see what equipment to bring and download a waiver form that must be signed and turned in to the site leader.

Santa Clara County Cleanup Sites