California claims more than 3,400 miles of shoreline, with its spectacular oceanfront, islands, sounds, and bays. Throughout the month, we’d normally celebrate California Surfing Day (Sept. 20), but this year we’re focused on a different aspect of the ocean—preserving and protecting it.
To help keep California a healthy environment for the countless creatures that call it home, such as sea otters, orcas, dolphins, sea birds, and surfers, every September volunteers join Heal the Bay’s statewide Coastal Cleanup to remove litter along all of California’s waterways. This year, communities will once again come together to demonstrate their desire for a clean ocean and healthy marine life, but with physical distancing measures in place for everyone’s safety.
"Keeping watersheds and coastal areas healthy and litter-free is vital to keeping our ocean and California's national marine sanctuaries safe for marine life and humans alike,” says Shauna Bingham of the NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries. “Debris is a global issue, but it's one we can solve together. Whether you live on a beach, or hundreds of miles away, we can all do our part to make a difference."
We are counting the days until September...the official kickoff of Coastal Cleanup Month! This year, Coastal Cleanup Day will become #CoastalCleanupMonth, as we spend the entire month of September celebrating and protecting our environment with independent cleanups, educational programming, and virtual events. Clean up your local neighborhood, park, coastline, or anywhere else that you call your outdoor happy place. Tune in as we feature experts and organizations working to make LA better for local communities and wildlife alike. Let’s promote environmental stewardship across LA County - from the top of the watersheds, through our streets, and down to the beaches. Join in as we come together (at a safe distance) to protect what we love. Artwork by Kelly Malka Link in bio or go to healthebay.org/coastalcleanupmonth —— Contamos los días hasta septiembre ... ¡el inicio oficial del Mes de la Limpieza Costera! Este año, el Día de la Limpieza Costera se convertirá en #CoastalCleanupMonth, ya que pasamos todo el mes de septiembre celebrando y protegiendo nuestro medio ambiente con limpiezas independientes, programación educativa y eventos virtuales. Limpia tu vecindario, parque, costa o cualquier otro lugar al que llames lugar feliz al aire libre. Sintonice ya que contamos con expertos y organizaciones que trabajan para mejorar LA para las comunidades locales y la vida silvestre por igual. Promocionemos la protección del medio ambiente en todo el condado de Los Ángeles, desde lo alto de las cuencas hidrográficas, a través de nuestras calles y hasta las playas. Únase mientras nos unimos (a una distancia segura) para proteger lo que amamos. Ilustraciones de Kelly Malka healthebay.org/coastalcleanupmonth
No beach? No problem. Since rivers and creeks run to the ocean, too, every waterway could use a little cleanup! Whether you’re a local or visiting an oceanfront area, you can be a part of Coastal Cleanup Month. Here’s how:
Do your own coastal cleanup
In order to comply with physical distancing regulations, there will be no large group cleanup events as in years past, so volunteers are heading out in their own small groups and cleaning up neighborhoods, local parks, beaches, and other waterfront areas—all of which will help prevent waste from becoming marine debris.
You can virtually pair your own coastal cleanup efforts with organizations taking part in the Coastal Cleanup Month, such as the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center and Heal the Bay.
Before you head out, gather protective gear, including sturdy shoes, a face mask, work gloves, and sunscreen, as well as strong trash bags or buckets, and a trash grabber, if available, to collect litter. For more on how to stay safe and tackle your own beach cleanup, read this guide.
Download The Clean Swell app from the Ocean Conservancy to amplify your message and let your friends and family know you’ve joined the fight for trash-free seas. The app allows you to track how much shoreline you’ve cleaned, record every item of trash you collect, earn badges for the type or quantity of trash you pick up, and inspire others to participate when you share your results on Facebook, Twitter, and email. By using the app, you’re also contributing to a global database that helps scientists learn more about where and why trash enters our waterways.
You can also use the hashtags #coastalcleanupday and #protectyourhappyplace when sharing images of your cleanup work on social media.
Other ways to help
The best way to end the problem of marine debris is to not create it in the first place. It should go without saying, but don’t litter anything—that includes cigarette butts. Make sure to properly dispose of fishing lines, nets, and hooks, all of which are injurious to marine life and take hundreds of years to decompose in the ocean. Think before you buy, too: By reducing the amount of disposables you generate, choosing natural over synthetic materials, and switching to reusables with little or no packaging, you can help stop the demand for waste that ultimately ends up in the ocean.
Even if you’re not currently in California or you’re not physically able to take part, you can still help the Golden State’s waterways stay healthy and be part of Coastal Cleanup Month by donating to the California Coastal Commission’s efforts.