Surfrider: Significant Decrease in Trash on Beach After July 4th – Partly Due to Curtailed Marshmallow War in OB

by on July 7, 2014 · 16 comments

in Culture, Environment, Ocean Beach, San Diego

The San Diego Surfrider, other environmental groups and all the volunteers who massed the day after July 4th to do the beach clean-up found a huge drop in the trash on the beach.  A spokesperson stated that there was a “significant decrease in the amount of trash collected this year compared to the last few  years.”

The group attributed part of the this to the curtailment of this year’s OB Marshmallow War.

In a press release from Surfrider San Diego, they announced that nearly 650 people gathered at 4 beach sites on July 5th as volunteers for the massive annual clean-up effort, led by Surfrider. By midday, they reported that a total of 1,410 pounds of trash and 326 pounds of recycling had been collected.

Called the “Morning After Mess”, the effort recovered 489 plastic bags, 983 pieces of styrofoam and 14,796 cigarette butts.

In contrast, in 2012, there were around 500 volunteers and “By midday, Surfrider volunteers had recovered 2,607 pounds of trash and 191 pounds of recycling which otherwise would have been washed into the sea.” And remarkably, 3/4’s of 2012 trash was found on OB’s beaches.  So, two years, less volunteers, and much more trash – and interestingly, less recycling.

For this years results, San Diego County Chapter Manager, Haley Haggerstone, said:

“We are incredibly pleased with the number of volunteers who came out this morning to help clean the beaches after the busy holiday.

We are also pleasantly surprised with the amount of trash that was collected.

There was a significant decrease in the amount of trash collected this year when compared to the last few years. This is partially due to the cancellation of the annual marshmallow fight in Ocean Beach.”

Even though Haggerstone used the word “cancellation”, as it was banned by the OB Town Council, it did occur, but in much, much milder form – and only a mere shadow of its former self, thankfully.

Four beaches had been chosen for the clean-up due to the high concentration of beachgoers and notorious reputations for post-Fourth of July trash; Ocean Beach Pier, Belmont Park in Mission Beach, Crystal Pier in Pacific Beach and the Oceanside Pier.

Along with Surfrider,  I Love a Clean San Diego and San Diego Coastkeeper were a couple of the major organizations involved. According to their press release:

Few holidays generate more trash on San Diego County beaches than the Fourth of July. Sadly, much of this litter is made up of plastic, which exacerbates an already critical pollution problem devastating marine life in the world’s oceans.

 Throughout the year, the Surfrider Foundation works hard to prevent pollution from becoming part of the ‘Morning After Mess.’ Through successful programs like Rise Above Plastics and Hold Onto Your Butt, the organization uses education, outreach, and advocacy to reduce the amount of single-use plastics and cigarette butts along our coast.


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