Coastal Cleanup Day Returns to San Diego County September 18, 2021

International Coastal Cleanup Day 2021:
San Diego County’s Largest Environmental Cleanup Returns on September 18

Free online volunteer registration opens September 1, 2021 at Volunteer groups expected to grow significantly from 2020. New Coastal Cleanup Day T-Shirt is available on event website.

International Coastal Cleanup Day returns to San Diego County for its 37th edition on Saturday, September 18, 2021. About 80 percent of all marine debris originates inland, so people of all ages and from all points in the region are encouraged to participate in one of the world’s largest environmental preservation efforts. Volunteers can cleanup at any point during the day. Learn more at the official Coastal Cleanup Day San Diego website

Coastal Cleanup Day T-Shirt

Order your Coastal Cleanup Day Tshirt Today! All proceeds benefit I Love A Clean San Diego. Thank you!

The countywide event is a major part of International Coastal Cleanup, which includes many U.S. states, territories, and over 90 countries. San Diego County volunteers are joining nearly one million volunteers all over the world in the removal of pollution from our connected ecosystems.

“Each year, at least 8 million tonnes of plastics leak into the ocean – which is equivalent to dumping the contents of one garbage truck into the ocean every minute. If no action is taken, this is expected to increase to two per minute by 2030 and four per minute by 2050. Estimates suggest that plastic packaging represents the major share of this leakage. The best research currently available estimates that there are over 150 million tonnes of plastics in the ocean today. In a business-as-usual scenario, the ocean is expected to contain 1 tonne of plastic for every 3 tonnes of fish by 2025, and by 2050, more plastics than fish (by weight).” World Economic Forum Report

Produced by I Love A Clean San Diego for the region, and in cooperation with the California Coastal Commission and Ocean Conservancy, over 269,000 volunteers countywide have removed over 5.4 million pounds of litter and debris from local communities since Coastal Cleanup Day’s inception in 1985. Despite the effects of the pandemic in 2020, San Diego County stood out. The region’s effort accounted for 1 percent of international litter totals, nearly six percent of the national totals and 20 percent of California’s results.

This year, Coastal Cleanup Day is making a return to group volunteering and data collection at litter hot spots across the county. If volunteers would like to find a litter hotspot in the county to do their cleanup, they can check the hotspot map on when registration opens Sept. 1.

Keeping with the theme protecting the coast starts at your front door, organizers are still offering a close to home option to allow more volunteers the opportunity to cleanup streets, parks, canyons and beaches within their own communities.

“No matter where you live in San Diego County, we all live in one of the region’s 11 watersheds, which need our help to protect the inland environment, creeks, bays and ultimately the ocean,” said Len Hering, executive director at I Love A Clean San Diego. “We’re happy to be making a significant step toward getting back together in groups to show our love for the region we call home.”

San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) will be celebrating its 20th year participating in Coastal Cleanup Day, making it the longest serving corporate team in the San Diego region, according to I Love A Clean San Diego. SDG&E encourages all volunteers to be community scientists and record their data during and after their cleanup so the results of local efforts are included in the global totals.

“Coastal Cleanup Day is an event our employees look forward to each year, and we will be out at four locations this year,” said Scott Crider, senior vice president of customer services and external affairs at SDG&E. “Heading into our 20th year of volunteering for the event, we are proud to have stopped over 110,000 pounds of trash from going into our waterways.”

Be a community scientist and report cleanup data online.

This year we are recording the Thank Yous volunteers receive from passersby while working on their project.

All volunteers must register at to officially participate and have their cleanup totals officially counted in the international effort.

Prior to event day, registered volunteers will receive a link to a simple cleanup report form to record their cleanup data, which can be accessed on mobile device or computer.

I Love A Clean San Diego has created a Volunteer Impact Map. This map visualizes all locations and cleanup totals around San Diego County in real time as volunteers submit data.

Adding an appreciation metric, volunteers will report the number of “thank yous” they receive from passersby while working on their cleanup project.

“It is critical volunteers register first and then review and submit their totals on our easy online cleanup report form,” said Lauren Short, the event’s program manager. “This data gives us a snapshot of the weights and types of pollution collected so we can share those accomplishments internationally.”

To help expand the countywide experience, volunteers are encouraged to contribute to the virtual cleanup’s story through Facebook and Instagram with images and video to show themselves in action as they beautify their community. #ILoveACleanSD @ILoveACleanSD #ProtectYourHappyPlace #CCD2021

Top 10 Items Collected Around the World in 2020

Plastic is the problem: All items listed below are example of single-use plastic.
1. Food Wrappers (candy, chips, etc.) 4,771,602
2. Cigarette Butts 4,211,962
3. Plastic Beverage Bottles 1,885,833
4. Plastic Bottle Caps 1,500,523
5. Straws, Stirrers 942,992
6. Plastic Cups, Plates 754,969
7. Plastic Grocery Bags 740,290
8. Plastic Take Out/Away Containers 678,312
9. Other Plastic Bags 611,100
10. Plastic Lids 605,778

Supporting partners of Coastal Cleanup Day San Diego County

Think Blue, County of San Diego and its Watershed Protection Program, Project Clean Water, COX Communications, SDG&E, Wells Fargo, Coca-Cola Foundation, News 8, Bank of America, Northrop Grumman, Illumina, Sony, City of Imperial Beach, City of Carlsbad, City of La Mesa, City of Poway, City of Chula Vista and San Diego Regional Airport Authority.

About Coastal Cleanup Day San Diego County

I Love A Clean San Diego has been the official organizer of Coastal Cleanup Day in San Diego County since it was founded in 1985. The event is a major part of International Coastal Cleanup Day and includes many U.S. states and territories, and over 90 countries. Each year the event attracts nearly one million volunteers globally and about 6,000 throughout San Diego County who prevent ocean pollution from our connected ecosystems. International Coastal Cleanup was founded by the Ocean Conservancy and is coordinated in California by the California Coastal Commission.

About I Love A Clean San Diego

Founded in 1954, I Love A Clean San Diego is an environmental nonprofit supporting residents and businesses of San Diego County through youth and adult education, and local action through impactful volunteer events and workshops. As San Diego’s most influential advocate for sustainability, I Love A Clean San Diego’s programs are an environmental catalyst, awakening passion and inspiring action to empower everyone to be leaders in conservation and waste-free living. Our community is passion in action to maintain and improve the health of the home we love.

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