Hundreds of volunteers collected more than 800 pounds of trash from San Diego's beaches Wednesday, tackling the mess left by a weekend of Fourth of July parties and picnics.
"While it’s disappointing to see the beaches trashed, it’s always amazing to see the huge difference that three hours of work can make," said Caroline Canter, the San Diego County Chapter Coordinator for the Surfrider Foundation.
Nearly 500 volunteers helped clean up four popular beaches hours after the holiday weekend ended. There are few holidays that leave as much trash on San Diego County beaches as the Fourth of July, according to the organization.
By the afternoon, the volunteers had picked up 800 pounds of junk and "too many marshmallows to count" that would have otherwise ended up in the ocean, said organization officials.
That junk included around 7,000 cigarette butts, 947 pieces of styrofoam, as well as a toilet seat and a hockey stick, said organization officials.
"Sadly, much of this litter is made up of plastic, which exacerbates an already critical pollution problem devastating marine life in the world’s oceans," said a statement from the group.
In collaboration with I Love a Clean San Diego and San Diego Coastkeeper, there were four cleanups hosted from 9 a.m. to noon.
"We are really happy to see the number of volunteers that came out this morning to help clean the beaches after the busy and long holiday weekend," said Canter. "We can really see the community coming together to keep San Diego’s beaches clean and beautiful.”
The organization picked these beaches because of their notorious reputations of being completely trashed after the Fourth of July.