While it may be common in Santa Barbara County to find bottles, cans and the occasional lost partygoer washed up on the beach, a crack pipe is not your typical beach debris. However, volunteers who came out this weekend for the 19th Annual California Coastal Clean-up Day found such a piece of drug paraphernalia, along with 2 1/2 other tons of trash and 1,100 pounds of recyclables countywide.
Volunteers also uncovered and removed other unusual objects at Campus Point, including a music stand, a fire extinguisher, a big rig tire and a La-Z-Boy chair.
The event, part of the International Coastal Clean-up, enlists volunteers each year to remove trash and debris from shorelines, inland locations and beaches. Locations this year included more than 25 sites in Santa Barbara County, including locations around the UCSB campus and Isla Vista.
There were over 600 volunteers countywide, and at Campus Point alone, 25 volunteers collected 418 pounds of trash and 128 pounds of recyclables. At Coal Oil Point, 11 volunteers collected 57 pounds of trash and 31 pounds of recyclables. Twenty Goleta Beach volunteers collected 115 pounds of trash and 30 pounds of recyclables.
“This is a one-day-a-year event, to emphasize the importance of keeping rivers, creeks and oceans clean. However, we can help keep them clean all year long,” said Dana Green, a Santa Barbara County Solid Waste and Utilities representative.
Green said that participants at Santa Claus Lane collected more trash than any other place in the county.
“We all use our beaches,” Green said. “We want to educate people about the effects of marine debris.”
Green said that, according to past data, the number of volunteers and the amount of recyclables collected have increased this year from previous beach clean- up days. The data also suggests that most of the debris that makes its way onto local beaches arrives via storm drains, and that cigarette butts are the most commonly found beach debris. Green said cigarette butts can take up to 12 years before they completely biodegrade.
Santa Barbara County’s Solid Waste and Utilities Division coordinated the event activities for the entire county, and community organizations such as Health Sanitation Services and the city of Santa Barbara’s Waterfront Dept. also supported the event.
“Our involvement is to simply provide free parking for all of the participants that come down to walk the beach and pick up trash,” said John Bridley, waterfront director for the city of Santa Barbara. “We want to make the waterfront accessible for the participants of the event.”