Coast cleanup planned here Fri. and Sat.

By Adam Spencer, The Triplicate September 19, 2012 06:53 pm

Tens of thousands of volunteers statewide participated in last Saturday’s California Coastal Cleanup Day, but high tides that day pushed Del Norte’s event to later this week.

To get involved with Del Norte’s cleanup this Friday and Saturday, call Crescent Elk Middle School (707-464-0320) and ask for science teacher Joe Gillespie.

“After a summer season of heavy use, a lot of our beaches have trash that needs to be picked up,” Gillespie said.

Del Norte students, businesses and civic groups will hit the beaches en masse next Friday and Saturday. Volunteer crews have already committed to clean most stretches of Del Norte’s coast from Enderts Beach to the Oregon border, but there are still a few spots in need of volunteers.

A section of Pebble Beach, from Ninth Street to the split stairs just south of Pacific Avenue, is still in need of a volunteer crew for the cleanup. Beach sites near  Klamath, like Wilson Creek Beach, Hidden Beach and the mouth of the Klamath also still need volunteer crews.

Contact Gillespie by Wednesday for free trash bags and data cards to log how much and what type of trash is found.

Information about the items found on Coastal Cleanup Days is supposed to be collected. The baseline data collected for decades for the cleanup can be used to track trends of beach trash washing ashore.

“If we start getting an influx of trash we’ll know if it’s a new source like the Japanese tsunami,”  Gillespie said.

Del Norte’s cleanup effort typically collects an average of 3,500 to 4,000 pounds of trash each year, Gillespie said.

“It keeps trash out of our ocean that breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces and we’re finding that plastics are ingested by marine life and it makes its way up into the food chain,” Gillespie said. “And marine mammals ingest some of the larger plastics directly and that kills a lot of marine mammals.”

Recology Del Norte is donating Dumpsters and collection, and  Del Norte Solid Waste Management Authority is providing free disposal.

Elsewhere in California, more than 57,000 people took part in last Saturday’s cleanup, and at least 320 tons of debris were collected from the state’s beaches, lakes, river and streams.

Volunteers at a Santa Cruz County beach found a buoy with Japanese writing, and picked up buoys and water bottles with Japanese writing in Mendocino County.

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