Hundreds of volunteers removed 1,645 pounds of trash from San Diego County's beaches the morning after Independence Day festivities, Surfrider Foundation San Diego leaders announced Thursday.
In three hours, the 429 volunteers removed the trash —largely single- use plastic —from beaches up and down the coast as part of Surfrider's "Morning After" beach cleanup series.
"Many of our volunteers remarked that the beaches seemed cleaner than in previous years, which is a great sign," said Alex Ferron, Surfrider Foundation San Diego chapter manager. "Despite that, we can not lose sight of the fact that even one piece of trash on the beach is one piece too many.
"More than anything, we hope our beach cleanups inspire San Diegans to continue down the path of coastal stewardship, to continue lessening their reliance on single-use plastics and hold businesses and governments accountable for the plastic pollution that has no place in our communities, on our beaches or in our ocean," he said.
Surfrider volunteers hosted four cleanups in Ocean Beach and Oceanside while partnering organizations hosted cleanups at Mission Beach Park, Crystal Pier, Fiesta Island and Moonlight Beach.
These cleanup sites were chosen because of the high concentration of beachgoers and reputations for post-Fourth of July trash, Ferron said.
OB's Dog Beach was by far the heaviest haul, with volunteers bringing in 735 pounds of trash that morning. Fiesta Island also saw significant garbage, with 450 pounds collected.
The Surfrider Foundation has a handful of programs working to fight plastic pollution in San Diego. Specifically, the Rise Above Plastics program has been a force in introducing and passing single-use plastic and polystyrene ordinances across San Diego County. The program uses outreach, education and advocacy to cut down on single-use plastics and cigarette butts before they reach the coast.