Record number of volunteers participate in coastal cleanup - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Record number of volunteers participate in coastal cleanup

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A record number of volunteers helped beautify and restore San Diego's coastline, waterways, and open space areas Saturday as part of the 25th annual California Coastal Cleanup Day.

With 85 percent of cleanup sites reporting, a total of 9,587 volunteers participated in the cleanup effort at a record 80 cleanup sites throughout San Diego County and Tijuana.

The volunteers removed more than 65,000 pounds of debris from more than 120 miles of land and even underwater at two dive sites.

Last year, more than 160,000 pounds of trash was picked up, according to I Love A Clean San Diego and San Diego Coastkeeper.

Volunteers found common items including cigarette butts, plastic bottle caps, plastic bags, and unusual items such as an ATM machine, a fake nose and pickles. 

This year's "Cleanup Central" was at Belmont Park in Mission Beach, where 759 volunteers combed the beach and bayside, as well as local streets and alleyways and collected more than 1,360 pounds of trash and 62.5 pounds of recyclables.

"Volunteering for Coastal Cleanup Day is a great opportunity to give back to the community" said CCD volunteer Amanda Sousa. "It is important to be part of the solution not the problem of marine debris."

Marine conservation experts agree that CCD decreases the amount of trash that eventually ends up in the ocean.

"Marine debris is the most widespread problem facing out coast and ocean, and it's entirely preventable," said Greg Helms, the Southern California program manager of the Ocean Conservancy. "People caused this problem, and today the community is being part of the solution." 

Statewide, 56,877 volunteers collected 801,937 pounds of debris throughout the state, according to preliminary figures from the California Coastal Commission.

More than 1.6 million pounds of trash was collected throughout California during last year's cleanup.
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