Volunteers will head to the Santa Barbara coastline this Saturday to obliterate litter from 28 of the county’s beaches, creeks and other environmentally sensitive sites during the 27th annual California Coastal Cleanup Day.
Isla Vista Recreation and Parks District will lead a cleanup of I.V.’s streets and coastal access points while UCSB’s Department of Environmental Health and Safety will host a sweep of the campus lagoon and beaches. The California Coastal Cleanup Day is part of an international effort organized by the Ocean Conservancy and is supported by organizations like the Isla Vista Recreation and Parks District and the United Way.
Isla Vista’s cleanup is part of the United Way’s Day of Caring and represents the first partnership between the IVRPD and California Coastal Cleanup Day. The IVRPD also hosts several cleanups a year through their Adopt-A-Block Program, which has collected approximately 1.453 million pounds of garbage and recycling from Isla Vista’s streets and beaches since its inception in 1996, according to site captain Matt Hoff. While the cleanups before and after Halloween attract the most volunteers, Hoff said he expects about 150 people to participate in Saturday’s event.
According to Hoff, last year’s cleanup drew 1,267 volunteers who removed over 5,000 pounds of waste from 28 sites in Santa Barbara County in a single day.
This year, a 12:30 p.m. high tide will render much of the beach along Del Playa Drive inaccessible to volunteers, but Hoff said keeping I.V.’s streets clean is just as important.
“Everything up here will end up down there,” Hoff said.
Fourth-year environmental studies major Alan Krespan, one of the UCSB cleanup’s site captains, said the condition of campus beaches doesn’t match UCSB’s idyllic location.
“If you look at the beach right now, it’s just an awful mess,” Krespan said. “I saw mattresses, couches — just a lot of stuff that shouldn’t be on our beach, especially since we are one of the only campuses that has a beach; we should utilize it and keep it clean and beautiful.”
According to Jeff Simeon, Coastal Cleanup Day coordinator with the Santa Barbara Public Works Department, the waste collected during the event serves as valuable data in evaluating the condition of Santa Barbara’s public areas and the success of its environmental efforts.
“The really great thing about CC Day is we do this survey thing,” Simeon said. “We go out and encourage people to write down what kinds of trash they find. We actually get a picture — a snapshot — of what waste is in our area, on our beaches.”
For instance, Simeon said last year’s data contributed to the debates on smoking restrictions in public areas and the proposed ban on disposable plastic shopping bags.
The IVRPD will provide pizza and refreshments for all volunteers and the day will conclude with a post-cleanup raffle boasting prizes like tickets to the upcoming Foo Fighters concert at the Santa Barbara Bowl.
Students and community members interested in participating can register online at www.lessismore.org or show up to any of the meeting areas listed online. However, due to the extreme volume of traffic through UCSB during move-in weekend, the UCSB cleanup site will be meeting at Goleta Beach.