Thousands of residents and visitors will flock to the San Diego County coastline to enjoy the Fourth of July holiday this weekend. However, if those same people were to visit that same coastline the next morning, after they would find the thousands of pounds of trash that’s expected to be left behind. Thankfully, the Surfrider Foundation San Diego County Chapter will be leading the cleanup efforts and they’re asking the community to join them.
On Sunday, July 5th, the Surfrider Foundation invites beach-lovers of all ages to join in the Morning After Mess cleanup series hosted from 8 to 11 a.m. at the Ocean Beach Pier, Belmont Park in Mission Beach, Crystal Pier in Pacific Beach and the Oceanside Pier. The Surfrider Foundation will host the Ocean Beach Pier and Oceanside Pier sites. Partner organizations I Love A Clean San Diego and San Diego Coastkeeper will host the Belmont Park and Crystal Pier sites.
Bags and gloves will be provided, but participants are encouraged to bring their own reusable bag or bucket, and gloves to cut down on single-use plastic waste. Participants under the age of 18 will need a parent or legal guardian to sign for them. There is no need to pre-register.
The first 450 volunteers will get a free t-shirt donated by REI. There will be prizes drawn at each location including concert tickets thanks to presenting sponsor and local radio station 91X. Clif Bar is sponsoring the event and will be providing snacks on site.
Last year’s Morning After Mess saw a turnout of over 650 volunteers. Together, they removed 1,410 pounds of trash and 362 pounds of recycling from four beaches in only three hours. The trash included 489 plastic bags, 983 pieces of Styrofoam, and 14,796 cigarette butts. Without the collective volunteer effort, all this litter may have washed into the sea where it would add to the already critical pollution problem devastating the world’s oceans today.
San Diego County Chapter Manager, Mandy Sackett, says “We’ve seen a significant decrease in the amount trash collected at our annual Morning After Mess since the drinking ban was put into effect in 2008, but there is still a ton of garbage left behind and we need volunteers to help make sure it doesn’t enter the ocean.”
The Surfrider Foundation is also working hard to stop the problem before it becomes the Morning After Mess. Through successful programs like Rise Above Plastics and Hold Onto Your Butt, the organization uses outreach, education and advocacy to cut down on single-use plastics and cigarette butts before they reach the coast. The Surfrider Foundation’s mission is to protect our oceans, waves and beaches.