That’s a wrap! Volunteers turned out in record numbers and took part in the 32nd annual Coastal Cleanup Day in Santa Clara County on Saturday, Sept 17.

About 1,883 volunteers helped gather over 55,000 lbs. of trash from local creeks and waterways, cleaning up over 40 sites throughout the county spanning from Palo Alto to Gilroy. This year we celebrated record breaking numbers in both volunteer turnout and trash pickup for this event since its inception. Just to put it in perspective, the amount of trash that was removed is equivalent to the total weight of 23 great white sharks!

Everyday debris and plastic items weren’t the only things found in this year’s cleanup. Volunteers also picked up a number of “unusual” items, such as a DVD of Jersey Shore: Season 1, a hub cap, carpet padding, large knife, shopping carts, bike frames, suitcase, half a laptop, bucket filled with dry cement, irrigation timers, mattresses, vacuums, 60 whiskey bottles, marbles, porcelain toilet tank, pressure cooker, bowling ball, rug, wedding cake topper, shovel, propane tank, homemade PVC rocket, Chinese lanterns, baby stroller, rat traps, floppy disks, lawn chairs, soccer balls, shotgun shell, a bag of new hypodermic needles, flood light, tennis balls, a jewelry box, and a heart shaped stuffed animal.

Trash Fact: Up to 80 percent of the trash on the California coast originates on land and travels to the ocean through storm drains and creeks.

 

This year, the state campaign highlighted cigarette butt litter in order to raise awareness of the harm they pose to the environment and to help motivate proper disposal. According to the California Coastal Commission, cigarette butts are the top item collected during California Coastal Cleanup Day, accounting for 39 percent of debris picked up in waterways. These items, small in size, actually cause a lot of harm. Cigarette filters are made from a type of plastic called cellulose acetate, and do not biodegrade and can leach toxic chemicals, including dozens of known carcinogens, into the environment for up to ten years.

If you didn’t get a chance to join us this year, not to worry — National River Cleanup Day will take place on May 20, 2017. Visit www.cleanacreek.org for more details.

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