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Surfrider Foundation of San Diego County hosts 'Morning After Mess' beach cleanup July 5

According to the Surfrider Foundation, cigarette butts are the number one thing they find every year.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — After all the fireworks, barbecues and partying, there tends to be a mess to clean up, so Surfrider Foundation of San Diego County hosted the "Morning After Mess" beach cleanup on July 5.

Volunteers at seven locations around the county, including Ocean Beach Pier, OB Dog Beach, Mission Beach, Fiesta Island, Pacific Beach, Moonlight State Beach in Encinitas and near the Oceanside Pier picked up trash at the beaches. 

According to the foundation, July 5 is the dirtiest beach day of the year, following 4th of July celebrations. The Surfrider Foundation has long known this as “The Morning After Mess.” On this day, volunteers remove incredible amounts of red, white, and blue single-use plastic cups, food packaging, abandoned toys and clothing, fireworks, and cigarette butts from beaches nationwide.

"Unlike other materials, [plastic] doesn't break down," said Alex Ferron, manager of the San Diego chapter. "Unlike paper and aluminum, where it's breaking down and becoming inert, plastic breaks up. So while you might not be able to see it, after some time it gets smaller and smaller, and all throughout the cycle of doing that, it's getting eaten. So it's finding it's way into our food chain, into fertilizers, it's getting absorbed as rain water. It's truly everywhere."

Each year, the San Diego County Chapter and partners host the Morning After Mess cleanup series to help tackle the trash. Through their 2021 Morning After Series, Surfrider volunteers removed 1,457 pounds of trash from San Diego’s beaches after the 4th of July!

This year, however, volunteers from Surfrider and Paddle for Peace say they were greeted with a pleasant surprise.

"Today was relatively clean compared to past years," said Risa Bell, founder of Paddle for Peace. "We've been here for 2 hours, and we have 1 trash bag full which is surprising. Normally within 30 minutes, we have a trash bag full."

That's not to say there wasn't trash on the beach just a lot less. 

"I think it's better this year, it seems a little more cleaned up," said volunteer, Susan Nosek-Fulfer. "It's not the big bulky things like cups and straws."

Added Bryant McMullen from Paddle for Peace, "One team, one fight. We all spend time here, if you see a piece of trash, pick it up. If wedo it together, we keep our beaches this way."

For more information, including how you can become a volunteer, click here.

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