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Morning After Mess - July 5th Beach Cleanup Series

When we enjoy recklessly, life in and out of the ocean suffers. 

July 5th is the dirtiest beach day of the year, following 4th of July celebrations. The Surfrider Foundation has long known this as "The Morning After Mess." On this day, volunteers remove incredible amounts of red, white, and blue single-use plastic cups, food packaging, abandoned toys and clothing, fireworks, and cigarette butts from beaches nationwide.

While the beach is a great place to celebrate the 4th of July, the Morning After Mess showcases how our reliance on wasteful, single-use plastic products damages our coastal environment. 

Each year, the San Diego County Chapter and partners host the Morning After Mess cleanup series to help tackle the trash. Through our 2021 Morning After Series, Surfrider volunteers removed 1,457 pounds of trash from San Diego's beaches after the 4th of July!

Find a Cleanup Near You!

Listed South to North

Ocean Beach with Stone Brewing

  • July 5th
  • 8-11 am
  • Veteran's Plaza, Ocean Beach

Register for OB

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OB Dog Beach with SD River Park Foundation

  • July 5th
  • 9 am - 12 pm
  • OB Dog Beach and Estuary


Register for Dog Beach

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Mission Beach with SD Coastkeeper

  • July 5th
  • 8-11 am
  • Mission Beach

No advanced registration required for this location.

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Fiesta Island with ILACSD

  • July 5th
  • 9-11 am
  • Fiesta Sunset Beach, Fiesta Island

Register for Fiesta Island

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Pacific Beach with Paddle for Peace

  • July 5th
  • 8-11 am
  • North Side of Crystal Pier, Pacific Beach

Register for PB

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Encinitas with Un Mar De Colores

  • July 5th
  • 8-11 am
  • Moonlight Beach, Encinitas

Register for Encinitas

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Oceanside with Reef

    • July 5th
    • 8-11 am
    • North Side of Oceanside Pier


Register for Oceanside

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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. 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 (non-nano 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 the USA's independence sustainably!