The Inspiration Behind CCD
Coastal Cleanup Day is a time honored tradition here on the North Coast. The Northcoast Environmental Center was looking for ways to cleanup our coast and in 1979 community member Joe Abbott conceived an idea that would later become the international cleanup we know today. He and his wife Ann Morrissey wrote a grant for what was called the Beach Beautification Project; a two year project targeting Humboldt County’s coastline to free it of marine debris and clean up our watershed. They approached the Northcoast Environmental Center, specifically Tim McKay and Sid Dominitz, to coordinate and sponsor the program. After grant funding ran out, the NEC partnered with Wes Chesbro and the Arcata Recycling Center to create a program for community members to “adopt” a local stretch of coastline. This became the Adopt-A-Beac h program that the NEC continues to coordinate. In 1985, after hearing about the overwhelming community support up here in Humboldt, the Coastal Commission organized the first California Coastal Cleanup Day in an effort to keep our beaches free from plastics and other marine debris. One year later the Ocean Conservancy in tandem with the California Coastal Commission turned it into an international sensation. Currently, the International Coastal Cleanup Day happens on the third Saturday of September every year. On this day hundreds of thousands of volunteers all over the world come together in an effort to keep our watersheds clean and beautiful for all to enjoy. Here on the North Coast hundreds of volunteers pick up over five tons of trash and recyclables off our beaches and out of our watersheds. We at the Northcoast Environmental Center take pride in the history of Coastal Cleanup Day. Please join us as we celebrate our 39th year of this wonderful hands-on event in 2018.
Why We Need Coastal Cleanups
Coastal cleanups are important for our beaches, rivers, estuaries and our local coastal environment. Human beings have continuously degraded those habitats for all life forms, including plants and animals with their wasteful, trashy ways. Our North Coast coastline is one of California’s biggest assets, whether it be for recreation, production, water, or life; all of this depends on the health of our watersheds, beaches and coastal environment. It is predicted that by 2050 plastic and trash will outnumber fish in the ocean. If the public keeps polluting these ecosystems, it isn’t just humans that suffer the consequences, but the entire ecosystem. Wildlife frequently mistake debris as food and it has become an increasing trend to find marine life with stomachs full of plastic. Another common occurrence is to find animals entangled in derelict fishing gear or trash. We need coastal cleanups not only to clean up our beaches and help our wildlife, but to show our representatives what type of trash and how much trash is washing up on our beaches. Knowing what and how much waste is washing up on our beaches helps us to get local ordinances and even legislation passed that can help reduce the amount of trash entering our oceans. We have been able to show our representatives and the manufactures that we do not want products that are damaging the environment in our day to day lives. We hope that with this wave of eco-consumerism we will be able to effect change to create a more environmentally conscious community. The Northcoast Environmental Center got their start in beach cleanups with the Beach Beautification Project in 1979. Within the first nine days of the program over 2,300 pounds of debris were removed from Humboldt County beaches, and by the end of the first year over 34,000 pounds had been picked up along 110 miles of Humboldt coastline. The California Coastal Commission estimates that over 20 million pounds of trash have been picked up over the past 35 years statewide. We continue this tradition through our Adopt-A-Beach program, Coastal Cleanup Day and various other beach cleanups.
Many thanks to our 2018 Coastal Cleanup Day Sponsors!