Gnarly Weather Doesn’t Hold Back More Than 150 Volunteers Who Tackled OB Litter

by on May 2, 2014 · 8 comments

in Culture, Environment, Ocean Beach, Organizing

OB cleanup 4-26-14 02Editor: The following report of the huge clean-up last Saturday, the 26th, by one of the organizers, gives us a glimpse of what happens when groups and community-minded people join forces in making the village better.

OB Community Cleanup a Collaborative Success

Good things happen when we all work together. Despite sideways rain and howling morning winds, 150+ volunteers  turned out to accomplish a shared goal this past Saturday, April 26th.

The Surfrider Foundation San Diego County Chapter, CSI -OB (Cleaner Streets Initiative), Ocean Minded, Ocean Beach Town Council (OBTC), and OBMA’s Crime Prevention Committee joined forces for a community cleanup of epic proportions.

Our volunteers hit the beaches, parks, streets, and alleys as part of the countywide Creek to Bay Cleanup sponsored locally by “I Love a Clean San Diego”. The results speak for themselves.

Between Coronado Avenue and West Point Loma, we collected:

  • 302 pounds of trash,
  • 89 pounds of of recycling, and
  • 12.75 pounds or 24,225 cigarette butts

Surfrider Foundation San Diego Chapter sponsored our site by the pier, signed in volunteers, and provided most of the supplies for the cleanup. CSI-OB volunteers tackled the community cleanup and were assigned streets and alleys to maximize efficiency and hit the most needed areas.

OB cleanup 4-26-14 03Members of the OBTC and OBMA Crime Prevention Committee revived and promoted the RESPECT OB campaign and handed out ‘badges of honor’ (aka RESPECT OB stickers) to volunteers. Ocean Minded stoked out the crew with a variety of free hats and stickers. OB People’s Organic Market generously donated 50 Theo chocolate bars. Raglan Public House hosted the grand finale with a packed after-party.

“I was thrilled to see such a strong turnout of volunteers – our collective cleanup efforts instilled renewed respect and pride for our community. This is what makes Ocean Beach so great,” said Gretchen Newsom, President of the Ocean Beach Town Council.

Haley Haggerstone, Chapter Manager for the Surfrider Foundation San Diego County Chapter said:

“Despite the rain and wind, we had a great turnout and we were able to remove over 400lbs of trash and recycling from the beach and surrounding areas. Thanks to our partners, the Ocean Beach Town Council, OBMA Crime Prevention Committee, and CSI-OB, who helped promote the event and direct volunteers to the streets and alleys.

It was a great day to be an Obecian. Seeing familiar faces and new friends giving back to the neighborhood we love was inspiring. CSI-OB’s slogan was well received, “We’re not talkin’ spotless, just a little bit cleaner.”

OB cleanup 4-26-14 04

It’s a simple, but achievable goal. That being said, there is more to be done. A few volunteers suggested we reach out to our property and business owners to be more proactive in reducing litter. Others suggested encouraging locals to speak out against the rampant discharge of litter into San Diego’s most inclusive beach town. Many said they would like to see the city enforce the ordinances already in place.

OB cleanup 4-26-14 01There are plenty of ways to help. CSI-OB would like to know which OB hot spots are consistently litter ridden eyesores. Let them know or send suggestions to . Sign up to get notifications through the CSI-OB Facebook page.

Join the OBTC to stay informed about future RESPECT OB projects. Become a Surfrider Foundation Core Volunteer. Tell your friend who litters how you really feel. Pick up three pieces of litter a day. The list goes on. We need more collaborators. Thanks to everyone who pitched in to make this event a success. The collaborative approach worked and the neighborhood was noticeably cleaner for everyone to enjoy.

OB cleanup 4-26-14 03

Jon Carr, board member of the OB Town Council, hits it with 2 other volunteers. Incidentally, over the years Jon probably has painted out more graffiti than most people even see.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

bodysurferbob May 2, 2014 at 2:56 pm

bravo! bravo! you guys. thank you on behalf of all the body surfers out there. next step? get involved in land use and democratic community planning – as i heard someone mention at the green store celebration last week.


bodysurferbob May 2, 2014 at 2:57 pm

oh, not to be too whiny, but some pics of the actual clean up would have been nice.


editordude May 2, 2014 at 3:01 pm

Sorry, bodysurfer dude, we didn’t see that many. But you said it.


Molly May 2, 2014 at 2:59 pm

So did Raglan provide free beer for all the clean up crew? Nice – just saw this – “Raglan Public House hosted the grand finale with a packed after-party.” Thank you all the groups and businesses who contributed.


Molly May 2, 2014 at 3:02 pm

Hey Editors – didn’t Jon Carr once write for the OB Rag?


Frank Gormlie May 2, 2014 at 3:03 pm

Well, yessir, he did at tat. Do a word search in our homepage search bar. Oh, nice glasses, Jon.


Jon May 4, 2014 at 8:31 am

Thanks Frank. And thanks for noticing Molly. Interesting to look back on some of the pieces I did for the Rag way back when. You can see I’ve had a not-so-secret plot to keep OB Beautiful for many years now. ;)


beach girl May 4, 2014 at 11:17 am

Glad someone put this article out…. It was an amazing turnout and the community really came together!! Surfrider had the stats on pounds of litter picked up and number of thousands of cigarette butts picked up — and I was hoping the event would get more publicity!! Thank you!!


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