You know what they always say: If you like a beach, you should pick up the six-pack ring someone put on it. (Pretty sure that’s how it goes.) And, to give you a chance to show your love for our coastline,environmental group Heal the Bay is gathering thousands of locals to clean up during the largest single-day volunteer event on the planet.
Starting at 9 a.m. on September 16, Heal the Bay will organize volunteers at 50 different sites around Los Angeles County. Projects you can join will include garbage removal along beaches, assisting with inland habitat restoration sites, and, for really ambitious volunteers, there are even group SCUBA dives to grab underwater trash.
“Our volunteers have collected and removed more than two million pounds of debris from our shorelines and watersheds over the past 20 years,” said Matthew King, communications director at Heal the Bay. “On the one hand, it’s pretty depressing to think about. But on the other hand, it’s uplifting to know that people still care, and that they will donate time on a Saturday morning to help protect what they love.”
Coastal Cleanup Day is a global event, and, in addition to the over 10,000 volunteers expected in Los Angeles County alone, almost 800,000 people around the world will simultaneously be turning out to clean up their own local coastlines and habitats.
If you’re among the garbage-pickers, there’s a little something extra in it for you, besides just the satisfaction of knowing you helped out. Participants will be granted free admission to the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium for the rest of the day after the cleanup projects wrap up.
You also never know what weird stuff might turn up as you comb the beach. “We’ve had people find $100 bills, guns, human skulls, you name it,” says King. “It’s a bit like a treasure hunt, but for a very important cause.”
All ages and fitness levels are invited to sign up, and you don’t need any kind of marine biology knowledge or previous volunteer experience. Visit the Heal the Bay website to find the location and project that best fits your needs. Be sure to register in advance and, if you’ve got them, feel free to B.Y.O. bucket and gloves.