31 August 2015

Celebrate Our Bay, Creeks and Wetlands on Coastal Cleanup Day, September 19!

September 1, 2015

Jim Scanlin, Clean Water Program (510) 670-6548

Alameda County, CA—Citizens throughout Alameda County are gearing up for this year’s Coastal Cleanup Day on Saturday, September 19. The annual volunteer event is the largest in the state. In 2014, nearly 67,000 participants removed more than 1,190,000 pounds of trash and recyclables from California's beaches, lakes, and waterways. In Alameda County, volunteers can choose from a wide range of cleanup events throughout September, organized by public agencies and non-profit groups. An event calendar is available at www.cleanwaterprogram.org/residents/volunteer.

“More and more people are becoming aware of the extremely negative impact litter, especially plastic debris, has on wildlife and our water quality in general,” noted Clean Water Program Manager Jim Scanlin. “When people attend a cleanup event, they feel good about being part of the solution, and many come away with a new respect for the importance of always using trash cans because even litter from inland communities still finds its way to the water. We encourage all cleanup volunteers to help spread this message in their communities.”

Only a small amount of marine debris enters waterways directly. The vast majority of litter—up to 80%—originates inland, where it is carried by rainwater, street runoff and wind into the storm drain system. From there litter travels into creeks, the Bay and the ocean, as stormwater generally does not pass through a water treatment plant. Plastic bags and other lightweight plastic litter items are particularly hazardous because they float, entangling and poisoning marine wildlife that mistakes the items for food. Less visible but equally serious is the negative impact plastic marine debris has on the food chain: Plastic fragments can concentrate and transport chemical pollutants into the marine food web, and potentially into human diets.

The Clean Water Program encourages citizens to stop litter at the source by always placing trash in garbage cans or recycling containers, buying reusable instead of disposable products and minimizing packaging as much as possible. The Program’s LuvTheBay campaign invites Alameda County residents to pledge their support for a litter-free Bay by uploading a photo to the online photo mosaic at LuvTheBay.org or sharing it via Instagram or Twitter with #luvthebay. After Coastal Cleanup day the photo mosaic will be printed and displayed at locations throughout the county.