Plastic Pollution
September 06 2017

Track your impact on International Coastal Cleanup Day, Sept. 16

by Edward Mazzarella

Did you know that International Coastal Cleanup Day, one of the world's largest annual preservation and protection events, is on Saturday, September 16? This global movement that encompasses an estimated six million volunteers in 90 countries and across the U.S., is a great way to get involved and make a difference to help protect our ocean and coasts for the future. Beach cleanups provide value to our local communities and make a tangible impact to support clean water and healthy beaches.

For over 20 years, the Surfrider Foundation has been leading a network of volunteers who conduct beach cleanups in their local communities. To celebrate and track our program’s success, we’ve launched a Surfrider designed database. This new database allows the organization to catalog debris throughout our chapter network so we can further leverage our campaign work. 

In July 2017, 300 Huntington Beach Chapter volunteers removed over 500 pounds of trash from local beaches and provided a value of close to $16,000 to the local community in just one month. We’ve also been able to show a significant decrease in the amount of single-use plastic bags in Huntington Beach since the state of California approved the bag ban, demonstrating that the voters of California made the right decision to uphold the nation’s first statewide bag ban.

Tracking this type of data so it's unified and easily accessible is critically important to the Surfrider Foundation’s plastic pollution campaign. It allows chapters in Florida to fight for implementing local bag ordinances and our chapters in Minnesota, Texas and New York to fight local bag ban preemption efforts by their state government.  

The Surfrider Foundation has one of the most robust nationwide beach cleanup programs of any organization. Our chapter network conducts hundreds of public beach cleanups annually throughout the West, East, Gulf, Hawaiian and Puerto Rican coasts. Cleanups are conducted entirely by volunteers who weigh, catalog and recycle the materials collected. Participants range from all ages and typically consist of local community members, tourists, youth organizations, school clubs, company employees and at times local elected officials. 

Participating in our Beach Cleanup Program:

  • Helps to protect our coastlines, waves and beaches.
  • Helps promote a healthy lifestyle.
  • Encourages engagement in your community.
  • Provides team-building and corporate responsibility for companies and their employees.

This year we have a goal to conduct 1000 beach cleans and remove 100,000 pounds of trash from our coastlines. We’re tracking it through our new database and you can follow our progress on our website. We hope that you’ll join us at any one of clean ups on International Coastal Clean up Day and beyond.