Ocean Beach, a place where residents are notorious for embracing environmental preservation, has been dubbed San Diego’s dirtiest beach by San Diego Coastkeepers.
The nonprofit recently revealed its 2011 data, which stated OB’s sandy shores had the most amount of rubbish found during beach cleanups.
OB had the most pounds of trash collected per volunteer in 2011, said marine debris manager for Coastkeepers Alicia Glassco.
She said the popular surfing spot is an area where volunteers find a lot more alcohol bottles and containers compared to other beaches.
Coastkeepers recommended implementing a more extensive recycling program in OB that could alleviate the debris along the coastline.
Of the trash found, cigarette butts were the most collected item by volunteer beach cleaners last year.
Nearly 50,000 pieces of the carcinogenic sticks were gathered throughout San Diego County.
Volunteers not only clean the beach, but also the surrounding areas.
“Part of the reason why volunteers are counting more cigarette butts is because they are going to the parking lots,” said Glassco.
Since smoking is banned on the beach, Glassco said people may be going to the sidewalk and parking areas to get their fix. But that can be just as hazardous to the area, as it can easily track back to the shore.
The data from Coastkeepers also showed that not surprisingly, plastic is one of the main offenders for beach waste. This can be dangerous to sea creatures and local wildlife.
Coastkeepers will continue to have beach cleanups in order to preserve the coastline. Glassco said she hopes continued effort will encourage people to volunteer cleaning, but also eliminate waste habits.
“Eventually we won’t need any more volunteers the more awareness is raised,” she said. “Hopefully … people will stop throwing their trash on the beach.”