FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE 7/5/2012
Contact: Haley Jain Haggerstone
Organization: Surfrider Foundation, San Diego Chapter
E-Mail: haley@surfridersd.org
Phone: (619) 929-5350

Surfrider’s Morning After Mess Recovers 2,607 Pounds of Trash from San Diego County Beaches

San Diego, California – Over 500 volunteers from around San Diego County arrived at five area beaches this morning to assist in the annual post-Fourth of July Morning After Mess clean-up effort, coordinated by the San Diego County Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation. 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.

Surfrider volunteers took part in clean-ups at Chula Vista Bayfront Park, the Ocean Beach Pier, Belmont Park in Mission Beach, the end of Pacific Beach Drive, and the South Harbor Jetty in Oceanside. The five clean-up locations were chosen because of the high concentration of beachgoers and notorious reputations for post-Fourth of July trash.

Chapter Coordinator Haley Jain Haggerstone was pleased with the turnout, as well as the amount of litter collected. “Of the total amount of trash collected in this year’s Morning After Mess, over 2,000 pounds came from Ocean Beach where an annual marshmallow fight takes place immediately following the fireworks on July 4th,” said Haley. “We had a number of volunteers who participated in the marshmallow fight also come out to assist with the clean-up this morning, which speaks volumes about the community of Ocean Beach and their commitment to keeping their beaches clean.”

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. This year’s Morning After Mess recovered 559 plastic bags before they were washed into the Pacific, along with numerous plastic bottles and plastic children’s toys.

Despite the volume of litter left behind by holiday crowds, a growing awareness of the detrimental effect of plastics on the health of the ocean is slowly changing people’s behavior, in part through the ongoing efforts of Surfrider’s Rise Above Plastics campaign. Similarly, Surfrider’s Hold Onto Your Butt campaign has cut down on the number of cigarette butts on San Diego-area beaches, but even so, over 13,200 cigarette butts were recovered in this year’s Morning After Mess clean-up.

Chapter Coordinator Haley Jain Haggerstone said, “We make a big deal out of the phenomenal natural environment we live in here in San Diego, but we also need to recognize the responsibility we have living in a major coastal city. We’re the last line of defense for all kinds of litter and trash before it goes into the sea. Once it gets past the beach, it’s a little too late for us to get it. This is it.”

For more on the San Diego County Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation and this year’s Morning After Mess clean-up, go to http://surfridersd.org/ or contact Haley Jain Haggerstone at (619) 929-5350.

Morning After Mess 2012 Beach Clean-Up Totals

Chula Vista Bayfront Park
2 volunteers
41 cigarette butts
12 plastic bags
6 pieces of styrofoam
5 lbs. trash
1 lb. recycling
Most unusual item(s): Jenga blocks

Ocean Beach Pier
132 volunteers
1,995 cigarette butts
343 plastic bags
70 pieces of styrofoam
2,016 lbs. trash
15 lbs. recycling
Most unusual item(s): marshmallows, fireworks, plastic beach toys, clothing, toothpaste

Belmont Park in Mission Beach
227 volunteers
8,260 cigarette butts
80 plastic bags
134 pieces of styrofoam
345 lbs. trash
130 lbs. recycling
Most unusual item(s): hunting knife, wrench

Pacific Beach Drive
42 volunteers
1,389 cigarette butts
57 plastic bags
282 pieces of styrofoam
89 lbs. trash
45 lbs. recycling
Most unusual item(s): Uncle Sam hat and sparklers

South Harbor Jetty in Oceanside
134 volunteers
1,552 cigarette butts
67 plastic bags
152 lbs. trash

Click here to read an article in the UT by Chris Scott.

Click here to read an article in the North County Times by Deborah Sullivan Brennan.

Click here to read an article on CNN iReport by Gail Powell.

Click here to read an article by Channel 10 News.