(FOX40.COM) — On the 39th annual California Coastal Cleanup Day, residents showed up at various sites throughout California to participate in the largest volunteer event in the Golden State.
The event, which the California Coastal Commission organizes, saw volunteers remove pounds of trash by the hundreds of thousands. Cleanups took place from the Oregon to Mexico border, and as far inland as Lake Tahoe.
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Around 50% of the cleanup sites have reported their numbers so far. Here are some of the numbers from the statewide effort to maintain California’s beaches, shorelines, and inland waterways.
- Over 25,000 volunteers (25,570)
- Over 126,000 pounds of trash removed (126,605)
- Over 7,000 pounds of recyclable material found (7,041)
- Some of the most unusual items found ranged from a card associated with someone from North Carolina’s cremated remains in Marin County to a 5.25” floppy disk found in Yolo County. (According to a press release, none of the young people at the cleanup could identify what the floppy disk was.)
California Coastal Commission Executive Director Dr. Kate Huckelbridge said, “The Coastal Commission is incredibly proud to provide an outlet for all Californians to express that dedication each year.”
She continued, “We see how devoting only a few hours on a Saturday in September translates into a year-round commitment to protecting and preserving our coast. We are grateful to all who share in this goal!”
Based on past cleanup data, 75 % of the debris that volunteers removed on Saturday was composed of plastic, a material that never completely biodegrades and has numerous harmful consequences in the environment.
Plastic debris can also kill wildlife, leach toxic chemicals into the environment, and even introduce them into the food chain.
The press release added that data has shown up to 80% of the trash on the California coast originates on land, so volunteers across the state helped prevent enormous amounts of debris from ever reaching the ocean, no matter where they participated.