Surfrider coordinates beach cleanups around San Diego - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Surfrider coordinates beach cleanups around San Diego

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Nearly 550 San Diegans turned out Thursday at area beaches to clean up the mess left behind by 4th of July crowds, including marshmallows at Ocean Beach.

The clean-up effort at the Ocean Beach Pier led by the San Diego chapter of the Surfrider Foundation attracted 132 volunteers, who collected nearly 2,000 cigarette butts, 343 plastic bags and 70 pieces of Styrofoam. The foundation's Haley Jain Haggerstone said those items, and other garbage, added up to more than 2,000 pounds of trash and 15 pounds of recycling material.

"We had more volunteers (compared to last year), and as a result, we collected twice as much garbage," Haggerstone told City News Service. She said the most energetic cleaners were some of the participants in the traditional Ocean Beach marshmallow fight, which creates a stick mess on the sand and nearby streets. As many as 1,000 people took part in Wednesday's horseplay, she said.

Volunteers also helped out at Belmont Park and the foot of Pacific Beach Drive -- both in San Diego -- the South Harbor Jetty in Oceanside and Bayfront Park in Chula Vista.

Haggerstone said volunteers in the other locations collected almost 600 pounds of trash combined. They also picked up around 11,000 cigarette butts and 216 plastic trash bags -- among the most common forms of beach debris.

Among the more unusual items found were Jenga blocks, a tube of toothpaste and a wrench, she said.

THIS IS AN UPDATE TO THE PREVIOUS STORY BELOW.

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Beaches along the San Diego County coastline are bound to be a mess Thursday following Independence Day celebrations, so the San Diego chapter of the Surfrider Foundation has cleanups scheduled at four locations.

Volunteers are scheduled to meet at 9 a.m. at the Ocean Beach Pier, Belmont Park and the foot of Pacific Beach Drive -- all in San Diego -- and the South Harbor Jetty in Oceanside.

"Cities and state parks generally do a great job keeping the beaches clean during the July 4th holiday, but nothing can replace or duplicate the efforts of our volunteers after big weekends like this," said Chapter Coordinator Haley Jain Haggerstone. "Sometimes the beaches may not look so bad, but nearby streets and sidewalks can be a mess."

Last year, the cleanup effort resulted in 1,025 pounds of trash and 255 pounds of recyclable items being collected.

Environmental groups say carelessly discarded cigarette butts and plastic products make up the bulk of the debris found on beaches. Last year's haul included nearly 7,000 cigarette butts and 270 plastic bags, which are harmful to marine life.

For those who want to volunteer, there is no need to pre-register, according to Surfrider, but those under 18 need the consent of a parent or guardian.

Volunteers are urged to bring work gloves and a reusable bag or bucket -- although those items can be provided by the foundation to those who come without them.

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