Coastal Cleanup Day sees more than 4,000 volunteers out on O.C. beaches

Katella High School teacher Leone Walsh at the cleanup at Huntington State Beach.
Katella High School teacher Leone Walsh, shown at the cleanup at Huntington State Beach, said she was proud of her participating students. Their motto was “Do What You Are Supposed to Do!”
(Spencer Grant)

As part of Coastal Cleanup Day, some 4,150 volunteers made their way out Saturday morning to Orange County’s beaches to do their part in cleaning up a slice of the coast — resulting in the collection of about 18,987 pounds of trash, according to numbers made available Monday.

OC Coastkeeper is the regional organizer of Coastal Cleanup Day and organized more than 30 different cleanups throughout the county’s beaches, parks and creeks, with its main event held at Huntington State Beach. Others were organized at nearby local watersheds in Santa Ana, Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, Dana Point and San Clemente.

The county’s effort was held in conjunction with the 39th annual California Cleanup Day, which is presented by the state Coastal Commission with support from the California State Parks Foundation and Ocean Conservancy.


At Huntington State Beach’s event alone, 306 volunteers came out and removed 283 pounds of trash, about the same amount collected during last year’s effort.

Vanguard University student Beverly Alvarez, center, welcomes volunteers to the coastal cleanup at Huntington State Beach.
Vanguard University student Beverly Alvarez, center, welcomes volunteers at the OC Coastkeeper tent at Huntington State Beach on Saturday while Eloisa Penal, right, gives out trash bags.
(Spencer Grant)

Local dignitaries, agencies and nonprofits, including Caltrans, OC Parks and the Crystal Cove Conservancy, were also out in the sand doing their part to help.

On Saturday, the Coastal Commission stated, with only 50% of sites reporting, the resulting efforts in Orange County and others up and down the coast resulted in the removal of roughly 126,605 pounds of trash. An additional 7,041 pounds of recyclable material were collected, bringing the total to 133,645 pounds, or 67 tons. It is the state’s largest volunteer event.

“Orange County’s beaches are for everyone to visit, enjoy and protect,” said Irene Cordero, cleanups coordinator at Orange County Coastkeeper, in a statement Saturday. “California Coastal Cleanup Day gives people who love our ocean a chance to protect it, no matter where they live. Orange County had a fantastic turnout this year, with over 4,000 volunteers and counting. Considering California is in store for another wet winter, the timing for a massive statewide trash cleanup event couldn’t be better!”

As mom Shannon Champ holds 20-month-old Thomas, as daughter Daphnie searches the sands for refuse.
As mom Shannon Champ holds 20-month-old Thomas, daughter Daphnie searches the sands at Huntington State Beach for refuse.
(Spencer Grant)

OC Coastkeeper reported that among the items its volunteers found Saturday were a mattress, a guitar, a cash register, an autographed baseball, bicycles, a mini fridge, some charcoal grills and a teapot.

“I’ve found that beach cleanups are often people’s first experience giving back to their local watershed. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen someone’s journey as an environmental advocate start with a beach cleanup. The energy at these events truly is amazing,” Matt Sylvester, the communications director at OC Coastkeeper, said on Monday. “Everyone is there because they want to leave this beautiful space better than they found it. After the cleanup, a lot of people stick around to play in the sand or go for a swim.

“While Coastal Cleanup Day only comes once a year, there are constantly opportunities to give back locally” Sylvester said. “We host at least two public beach cleanups every month. There are dozens of other organizations who do similar, amazing work around inland and coastal Orange County.”

The nonprofit will continue hosting cleanups through the end of the year and gathers at San Clemente State Beach every first Saturday of the month and at Huntington State Beach every second Saturday. To register for those cleanups in advance, visit

Katella High School students start their search for trash at Huntington State Beach Saturday.
(Spencer Grant)