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California Coastal Cleanup Day
Past Cleanup Results:
1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012
Graphs of Past Results * Top Ten Items 1989-2012
Statewide results for cleanups between 1989 and 2012
[Get the Excel Viewer for the compilation above, should you need it.]
California Coastal Cleanup Day was first organized in 1985 by the California Coastal Commission, but the idea of a community-based cleanup event did not come from California. The year before, Oregon resident Judie Neilson had grown concerned over the amount of plastic debris she saw littering the Oregon coast. In October of 1984, Judie organized the first Coastal Cleanup Day, turning out over 2,800 volunteers to the beaches of Oregon. California watched, admired, and the next year, emulated Judie’s efforts with its first statewide Coastal Cleanup Day.
Close to 2,500 Californians joined in the initial Cleanup, and the program has been growing by leaps and bounds ever since. In 1986, The Ocean Conservancy (then known as the Center for Marine Conservation) ran its first Coastal Cleanup in Texas, and in later years became the coordinating agency for the International Coastal Cleanup, helping to spread the concept to nations around the world.
In 1993, California Coastal Cleanup Day was recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the “largest garbage collection” ever organized, with 50,405 volunteers. Since then, the reach of Coastal Cleanup Day has steadily spread inland. Most of the marine debris that we find on our beaches actually starts as urban trash or street litter, so this continuing effort to “stop trash where it starts” has actually increased the amount of trash picked up per person each year. (See Figures below)
Coastal Cleanup Day is about much more than picking up trash. It’s a chance for Californians to join people around the world in expressing their respect for our oceans and waterways. It’s an opportunity for the community to demonstrate its desire for clean water and healthy marine life. And it’s a moment to share with one’s neighbors, family, and friends, coming together to accomplish something vital and worthy on behalf of our environment.