When we beach recklessly, life in and out of the ocean suffers. Historically, July 5 has been known as the dirtiest beach day of the year, following Independence Day celebrations. Here at the Surfrider Foundation, this day has long been known as “The Morning After,” when volunteers remove incredible amounts of red and blue single-use plastic cups, food packaging waste, abandoned toys and clothing, fireworks and cigarette butts from beaches nationwide.

While the beach is a perfect place to celebrate the July 4 holiday, the “Morning After” exemplifies the disastrous consequences that our reliance on wasteful, single-use plastic products wreaks upon our coastal environment. Each year, the San Diego County Chapter + partners hosts the “Morning After Mess” cleanup series to help tackle this mess. Our 2019 Morning After Series saw a turnout of nearly 800 volunteers. Together, they removed over 3,900 lbs. of trash from five beaches in only three hours!

This year’s Morning After Series also signifies our return to community cleanups in over a year! We hope you can join us at one of our locations.

register here for surfrider-hosted locations
  • OB Pier, Crystal Pier, Moonlight Beach, and Oceanside Pier 
OB Pier approximate location
Crytal Pier approximate location
Moonlight Beach approximate location
Oceanside Pier approximate location
register here for OB Dog beach
  • Site hosted by The San Diego River Park Foundation
  • RSVP REQUIRED and space is limited.  To RSVP or learn more, please email volunteer@sandiegoriver.org.
  • If event is full, we encourage you to sign up for our OB Pier location and then walk towards Dog Beach! 
Blue square marks location of supply tent
register here for Mission Beach
  • Site hosted by I Love a Clean San Diego
  • Supply depot will be on the grass at Mission Beach Park, just south of Belmont Park.  
  • Register HERE!
Blue square marks approximate location

An Ounce of Prevention....

Ultimately, we aim to show our community that by switching from single-use items to reusable ones, they can minimize the amount of litter that ends up on our streets, our waterways, our beaches, and ultimately our ocean.  As we plan our holiday festivities, we encourage you to consider the impact of your plans on coastal and marine life and make some arrangements to help mitigate those impacts. A few simple yet effective changes to make this year include:

  • Reduce your footprint by eliminating single-use plastic from your celebrations! Bring reusable cups, bottles, straws, bags and tableware when bringing refreshments to the beach, or enjoying a party in your own backyard!
  • Pack in, pack out. Choosing reusable items also helps prevent the risk of improperly recycling or disposing of single-use items on beaches where the waste management infrastructure may be limited. Avoid the single-use foam coolers and $5 chairs or umbrellas that are not built to last, as well. Alternatively investing in reusable items that are built to endure time and use reduces waste through longevity!
  • Choose a reef-friendly sunscreen for your beach day! Go for a mineral (zinc oxide or titanium dioxide) based lotion sunscreen to reduce your impact on coral reefs, fish and other marine life. You can find our Guide to Reef-Friendly Sunscreens here.

Together, we can turn the tide on the July 4 mess and celebrate our nation’s independence sustainably!