NEC Press Release
Hundreds of Humboldt County residents turned out Saturday, September 16 for Coastal Cleanup Day to lend their hands in support of clean beaches and waterways. Over 600 volunteers trekked shorelines and inland locations, picking up trash and debris at over 65 sites throughout the County, gathering over five tons of trash during the morning’s three-hour event. This is the 38th annual cleanup event coordinated by the Northcoast Environmental Center, we are very proud to be working as part of the California Coastal Commission’s 33rd Annual California Coastal Cleanup Day, the state’s largest volunteer event. California’s event is part of the International Coastal Cleanup organized by Ocean Conservancy.
“Coastal Cleanup Day is such an institutional event up here. I love it,” said Madison Peters, Coastal Cleanup Coordinator for the Northcoast Environmental Center. “Some volunteers have cleaned the same beach for 20+ years and will continue until they physically can’t. It’s a great public event that gets people outside and they realize that not all trash makes it to the landfill; they see the impact of their choices.”
This year’s cleanup saw volunteers of all ages – from hundreds of elementary school students and high schoolers, to volunteers who have been involved since the NEC’s first cleanup day 38 years ago. People took to the beaches up and down Humboldt’s coastline, from Shelter Cove to Crescent City to inland reaches of the Eel and Mad Rivers.
For state totals, with 70% of the cleanup sites reporting a few days after the clean-up, 51,895 volunteers participated and picked up 514,844 pounds of trash and an additional 49,458 pounds of recyclable materials, for a total of 564,302 pounds or 278 tons. That’s more than the weight of about 55.6 average African elephants!
Data from past cleanups tell us that most (between 60-80 percent) of the debris on our beaches and shorelines originate from land-based sources, traveling through storm drains, creeks, or rivers to the beaches and ocean. The main culprit is cigarette butts, of which more than 5,000 were picked up in Humboldt County alone. The NEC has partnered with Retired and Senior Volunteer (RSVP) Program to create the Adopt-a-Block program, in which volunteers adopt a block or area of Arcata and pick up cigarette butts. If you’re interested in volunteering contact RSVP at 707.601.7809.
Those who were unable to make it out to the beach for Coastal Cleanup day can still participate year-round in the NEC’s Adopt-A-Beach program. For more information please visit www.yournec.org. For more information on the Coastal Cleanup, please visit www.coastalcleanupday.org. You can also follow the NEC and the Coastal Commission on Facebook.
Coastal Cleanup Day has its humble beginnings as a program of the Northcoast Environmental Center right here in Humboldt County in 1979. Now international, the event is celebrated worldwide and is the single largest volunteer event in support of the marine environment. It is made possible by the hard work of hundreds of non-profits and government agencies throughout the state and tens of thousands of volunteers annually.
Humboldt County’s Coastal Cleanup Day continues to be organized and supported by the Northcoast Environmental Center and the event is also supported statewide by the California Coastal Commission, California State Parks Foundation and Ocean Conservancy. Statewide sponsors are Crystal Geyser Natural Alpine Spring Water by CG Roxane, Oracle, Amcor, DMAX, Mark Leibowitz Motion / Stills, ARGONAUT, Union Bank, and Salesforce. Additional support comes from NOAA and California State Parks Foundation.
Humboldt County sponsors include: Humboldt Waste Management Authority, PG&E, City of Eureka, Recology, Les Schwab Tire Center, North Coast Journal, GHD, Lost Coast Outpost, North Group Sierra Club, North Coast Co-op, Mad River Union, Danco, Lost Coast Communications, KHSU, Visual Concepts, Humboldt Sanitation, Arcata Garbage Company, Pierson Building Center, Crestmark Architectural Millworks, The Shop, Hensel’s Ace Hardware, Coast Central Credit Union, Murphy’s, Plaza Be Inspired, Holly Yashi, Dick Taylor Chocolates, Ramones, Heartbead and many others.
Bella Waters, Administrative & Development Director