SEPTEMBER 2020 WILL BE CALIFORNIA’S FIRST-EVER COASTAL CLEANUP MONTH!

For Immediate Release: August 6, 2020
Contact: Emily Pomeroy, Save Our Shores Program Manager, (831) 462-5660 x3, emily@saveourshores.org

MONTEREY BAY REGION – To ensure public safety during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the 36th Annual California Coastal Cleanup, known locally as Annual Coastal Cleanup (ACC), will look different this year; it will literally start at our own front doors. From 9 a.m. to Noon on each Saturday in September, people can help protect our coast by sweeping through their own neighborhoods and local parks, creeks, streams, rivers, and the coast (where easily accessible) to help prevent single-use plastic items and other litter from polluting the environment and flowing into our Monterey Bay.

Since traditional cleanup sites with large gatherings could put volunteers at risk, this year the organizations that have coordinated past Coastal Cleanups across the state have devised a plan to honor the spirit and intention of the largest and one of the longest running annual volunteer days in the state, while encouraging people to stay close to home and follow public health guidelines. Working individually or with those with whom they are sheltering in place, community members can provide a valuable service to the coast and our communities by cleaning neighborhoods and local natural areas to prevent trash from washing on to our beaches and into the ocean once the rains begin.

“While we are sad that we won’t be able to meet you at the beach for our region’s much-loved Annual Coastal Cleanup (ACC) this year, we are excited for our wider community to enjoy a month of voluntary stewardship!” said Save Our Shores Program Manager Emily Pomeroy. “We know that our dedicated site captains and the countless volunteers who have taken such good care of our Bay these many years would not want the pandemic to stop us from having a positive impact on the health of our fragile marine ecosystems.”

Community members can download and use the Clean Swell data collection app or fill out and submit a paper data card (available in both English and Spanish) to record their finds and be counted towards statewide volunteer and trash totals. The event is emphasizing cleanups on the four Saturdays in September so that people know they are part of a larger effort with a unified purpose even while observing guidelines issued by state and local health officials. However, cleanups taking place anytime throughout the month of September can count towards the statewide volunteer and trash statistics.

“Even as we work to level the curve on COVID-19, we must be careful not to take the health of our beloved Bay for granted,” said Save Our Shores Executive Director Katherine O’Dea. “‘Leveling the curve’ on the plastic pandemic has become more challenging than ever and our coast is suffering as takeout has surged, beach use is skyrocketing, PPE has become a hazardous new form of litter, single-use plastic regulations have been suspended or temporarily weakened, and the plastic industry continues to ramp up production.”

Save Our Shores has partnered with the California Coastal Commission, serving as the Central Coast Host for the much loved ACC for over a decade. Those who live in the Monterey Bay Region continue to show they care deeply about the environment and our magnificent Sanctuary by supporting the cleanup year after year. Last year alone, over 2,300 volunteers cleared more than 11,000 pounds of trash from our region’s shorelines and waterways – all in a matter of hours.

To learn more about September’s Cleanup Saturdays and alternative ways to support Coastal Cleanup Month 2020, share memories of past ACC’s, and share stories or unusual finds from this year, visit saveourshores.org/coastal-cleanup-2020. Please tag @SaveOurShores and use the hashtags #SOSACC2020 and #ProtectYourHappyPlace in Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter posts.

Those who participate understand and agree that neither Save Our Shores, the State of California, California Coastal Commission, nor associated jurisdictions may be held liable or responsible in any way for any injury, death, or other damages to you or your family, heirs, or assigns that may occur as a result of your participation, or as a result of product liability or the negligence, whether passive or active, of any party in connection with the cleanups.

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