Results from Surfrider’s Annual “Morning After Mess” Beach Cleanup 

Over 525 volunteers gathered at four popular beaches this morning to assist with the Surfrider Foundation San Diego’s annual post-Fourth of July Morning After Mess beach series.  By midday, Surfrider volunteers had recovered over 1493 pounds of trash and recycling, which otherwise would have been washed into the sea adding to the already critical pollution problem devastating the world’s oceans.  

Surfrider volunteers hosted four cleanups in collaboration with I Love a Clean San Diego and San Diego Coastkeeper from 9 a.m. to noon. at the Ocean Beach Pier, Fiesta Island, Crystal Pier in Pacific Beach and the Oceanside Pier.  These cleanup sites were chosen because of the high concentration of beachgoers and notorious reputations for post-4th of July trash.

San Diego Chapter Coordinator, Mitch Silverstein, says, “The more people visit the beach,  the more trash ends up on the beach. But it doesn’t have to be that way! Most of what our volunteers pick up could be avoided if we chose reusable items instead of single-use ones. Start simple- reusable bags, reusable water bottle, reusable coffee mug. Those 3 items will cut your waste footprint drastically, and they’ll help keep our streets & beaches clean.”

Few holidays generate more trash on San Diego County beaches than the Fourth of July.  Unfortunately, the majority of this litter is made up of single-use plastic, which exacerbates an already critical pollution problem devastating marine life in the world’s oceans.  This year’s Morning After Mess recovered over 8,000 cigarette butts, more than 1535 plastic food wrappers, and a variety of obscure items including a garage door opener and a head massager.

Full Results from Our 4 Cleanup Locations: 

7/5/2018
Location Ocean Beach – Pier Pacific Beach – Crystal Pier Fiesta Island* Oceanside Pier TOTALS
Organization Surfrider Coastkeeper I Love A Clean San Diego Surfrider
Volunteers 169 76 280 143 668
Weight (lbs) 187 157.5 1,013.81 135.00 1493.31
Plastic Bags 117 22 111 250
Plastic Bottles 74 32 79 185
Bottle Caps 155 61 187 403
Plastic Utensils 48 52 93 193
Plastic Food Service (lids, cups, plates) 204 46 99 349
Straws 101 42 188 331
Plastic Food Wrappers 279 124 938 1341
Six-Pack Holders 0 2 2 4
Styrofoam 131 121 138 390
Balloons 91 9 66 166
Fishing & Boating Items 6 8 20 34
Glow Sticks 21 3 20 44
Syringes 0 2 1 3
Other Plastics 390 77 543 1010
Cigarettes & Cigarette Butts 2328 2143 2000 2,025 8496
Metals 101 83 123 307
Glass 98 31 76 205
Paper & Cardboard 491 200 422 1113
Fabrics 56 49 117 222
Wood Objects 155 11 60 226
Entangled or Dead Animals 0 1 4 5
Other 41 156 197
  • due to high volunteer turnout at Fiesta Island, ILACSD was unable to tally data other than # of volunteers, # of pounds collected, and # of cigarettes (which were separated, then estimated based on volume)