If you’re familiar with ECOSLO, then you’ve more than likely heard about Coastal Cleanup Day. For the past 13 years, ECOSLO has been the local coordinator for Coastal Cleanup Day in SLO County. In 2017, we saw 1,300 volunteers attend cleanups across 30 sites along the coast, and over 6,000 pounds of trash was collected and tracked – all in one day. From tracking the numbers of the pollution collected, we’re able to understand and advocate for what needs to be changed concerning single-use items, a more sustainable future, and caring for the environment. For example, in March of 2018, the City of SLO passed a “Straws Upon Request” initiative that requires guests to request a straw instead of being immediately supplied with one in order to cut back on unnecessary waste.
(Straws have consistently been in the top 10 items found on Coastal Cleanup Day in SLO County, and contrary to popular belief, are not recyclable, meaning they end up in landfills – or worse, the ocean – instead).
Through a partnership with the California Coastal Commission, ECOSLO has launched a new Beach Keepers program in 2018. This new program will include monthly beach cleanups and data tracking that takes place on the first Saturday of every month at one of the top 10 dirtiest sites in SLO County. These 10 sites were determined from the amount of poundage collected there on Coastal Cleanup Day throughout the past 3 years that ECOSLO has been coordinating it. The program also offers an educational presentation prior to the cleanup regarding details on the top items found in SLO County and how we can avoid them in our everyday lives, as well as a survey to gauge people’s understandings on the plastic pollution problem at hand.
Beach Keepers also allows local organizations and groups to “rent” out ECOSLO’s cleanup supplies and host their own beach cleanup at one of the top 10 dirtiest sites. The groups will first be presented with our educational presentation regarding plastic pollution and are also required to track their data, adding to the total numbers and providing more insight into what is being found on SLO’s beaches.
Since being launched in April, Beach Keepers has already seen two successful cleanups, one at Morro Strand, South near HWY 41 and one at Grover Beach near Grand Ave. All together, there has been 47 volunteers that have collected and tracked 151 lbs. of trash.
#1 – 772 Cigarette butts
#2 – 479 Plastic pieces
#3 – 277 Food wrappers
#4 – 149 Plastic bottle caps
#5 – 137 Glass pieces
Our next Beach Keepers cleanup will be on Saturday, June 2 from 9am-11am at the Montana de Oro Sandspit. You can sign-up here to pre-register!
Join the ECOSLO newsletter, check out our online calendar, and follow @ecoslo on social media to learn about upcoming Beach Keepers events, and save the date for Coastal Cleanup Day on Saturday, September 15th from 9am-12pm!