The San Diego County Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation will be hosting this year’s Morning After Mess on Thursday, July 5th from 9:00 am to 11:00 am, meeting at four coastal San Diego County locations to clean up after July 4th holiday crowds and festivities: the Ocean Beach Pier, Belmont Park in Mission Beach, the end of Pacific Beach Drive, and the South Harbor Jetty in Oceanside.
It’s a regrettable reality, but while summer weekends and holidays bring tourists and visitors to San Diego’s world-class beaches, those visitors and tourists often leave mountains of litter and garbage in their wake. Few holidays generate more garbage or trash on our beaches than the Independence Day holiday on the 4th of July. Last year, the Morning After Mess cleanup recovered 1,025 pounds of trash, as well as 255 pounds of recyclable material.
Sadly, much of this litter is made up of some form of plastic, which is exactly the kind of waste we don’t want washed into the sea, exacerbating an already critical pollution problem in the world’s oceans. Last year the Morning After Mess recovered 270 plastic bags on San Diego beaches before they were washed into the Pacific.
Despite the volume of litter left behind by holiday crowds, a growing awareness of the detrimental effect of plastics on the heath of the ocean has been changing people’s behavior, in part through the ongoing efforts of Surfrider’s Rise Above Plastics campaign. Similarly, Surfrider’s Hold Onto Your Butt campaign has reduced the number of cigarette butts which wind up on San Diego’s beaches, but even so over 6,950 cigarette butts were recovered in the immediate aftermath of the Fourth of July last year.
Chapter Coordinator Haley Jain Haggerstone says, “Cities and state parks generally do a great job keeping the beaches clean during the July 4th holiday, but nothing can replace or duplicate the efforts of our volunteers after big weekends like this.” Haley goes on to say, “Sometimes the beaches may not look so bad, but nearby streets and sidewalks can be a mess. It’s important to remember the ocean and bays are downhill from everywhere, so it’s imperative to keep streets and sidewalks clean in order to help keep the ocean and beaches we love clean as well.”
There is no need to pre-register for the Morning After Mess; the key is people, people and more people. However, volunteers under the age of 18 will need a parent or legal guardian to sign for them. Bags and gloves will be provided for all volunteers, though Surfrider encourages attendees to bring their own reusable bag, bucket or gloves if possible.
Surfrider San Diego has created a Facebook pagefor this year’s Morning After Mess, and in conjunction with Surfrider, the team at Cali Bamboo created a terrific video last yearin support of Morning After Mess clean-up efforts.
For more on the San Diego County Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation and this year’s Morning After Mess cleanup, as well as the Rise Above Plastics and Hold Onto Your Butt campaigns, go here or contact Chapter Coordinator Haley Jain Haggerstone at (858) 792-9940.