SANTA CRUZ COUNTY — A total of 533 volunteers spread out across Santa Cruz and Monterey counties Saturday to celebrate Earth Day by cleaning up a number of beaches.
Eleven Save Our Shores cleanup sites run by Sanctuary Stewards, Adopt-a-Beach groups and Save Our Shores staff were targeted.This year, the 39 year-old Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary based marine conservation nonprofit prevented 1,165 pounds of litter from entering the ocean, according to SOS. Much of the collected litter came in the form of plastic pieces and plastic food wrappers.
“People from all walks of life came out to the beach today to make a difference in their community and for the environment,” Volunteer leader Carey Pico said. “Kaiser Permanente employees, students from the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps, and a crew of local neighbors and students descended on the beach for a common cause, take care of the Earth as a community.”
Save Our Shores removed 921 pounds of waste from seven cleanup locations in Santa Cruz County including: Panther State Beach, Natural Bridges State Beach, Cowell and Main Beach, San Lorenzo River, Sunny Cove Beach and Hidden Beach.
A total of 244 pounds of waste was removed from four cleanup locations in Monterey County including Del Monte City Beach, Asilomar State Beach, Carmel River State Beach and Rancho Moro Cojo Park (Elkhorn Slough).
“I never thought about all the trash all around me and how easy it is to pick up, it was fun to cleanup together,” said Yesenia Lustre, a senior at North Monterey County High School.
Items ranged from large household appliances and auto parts to small plastic products. The most common item collected was cigarette butts and plastic water-bottle caps. More than 750 cigarette butts were collected along the San Lorenzo River Walk in Downtown Santa Cruz alone, according to SOS.
(Photo contributed by Mary Scheller. Volunteers clean up Sunny Cove Beach in Santa Cruz)