SAN FRANCISCO – The San Francisco Recreation and Park Department will spearhead the City’s effort to celebrate Coastal Cleanup Day Saturday, collecting trash and inspiring stewardship along San Francisco’s eastern shoreline in partnership with hundreds of volunteers, fellow government agencies, and community groups.
Partners in the massive cleanup include the California Coastal Commission, California Department of Parks and Recreation, National Park Service, Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, Port of SF, SF Public Works, SF Public Utilities Commission, Surfrider Foundation, OceanHealth.org, San Francisco Baykeeper, Golden Gate Audubon Society, Literacy for Environmental Justice, and SF Rec and Park Greenagers.
“Last year, 550 volunteers removed over 8,000 pounds of non-recyclable waste from 11 sites along the southeast shoreline,” said Phil Ginsburg, SF Rec and Parks general manager. “This year, we are excited to build on the momentum of the Global Climate Action Summit taking place this week in San Francisco. Our volunteers are thrilled to take on this project and serve as the guardians of our waterways and open spaces. Coastal Cleanup is a show of solidarity with cities and counties across California to heal our oceans and provide a healthier future for our children.”
Coastal Cleanup Day kicks off at 9 a.m. and ends at noon on Saturday, September 15 and includes 11 sites along San Francisco’s eastern shoreline. All volunteers will document the micro and macro litter on a data card provided by the California Coastal Commission. The efforts involved and data collected from the annual Coastal Cleanup Day have been instrumental in adopting new measures, policies and programming that will further protect the California Coast and waterways.
“The Port has been a long-standing partner and supporter of Coastal Cleanup Day,” said Elaine Forbes, executive director of the Port of San Francisco. “The Port manages 7.5 miles of San Francisco shoreline and over 100 acres of world-class open space along the waterfront that helps to attract more than 24 million visitors each year. We appreciate and thank the volunteers who dedicate their time and service to keep our waterfront parks—China Basin Park, Heron’s Head Park, Islais Creek Landing, Pier 94 Wetlands, Warm Water Cove, and many others—clean, safe, and enjoyable for everyone.”
“Coastal Cleanup Day is a great reflection of our San Francisco values and our commitment to protecting the environment,” said Harlan L. Kelly, Jr., general manager of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. “For our city to thrive, we need to care for and support the San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. The SFPUC is proud to partner with our fellow City agencies and our dedicated community members on this critical public health and safety endeavor.”
Most of the marine debris found on beaches actually starts as urban trash or street litter and flows down our waterways to the coast, which gives inland counties have an opportunity to participate in Coastal Cleanup Day and “stop trash where it starts.” Notably, the most littered item in cities and coastlines alike are cigarette butts, accounting for a whopping 36% of all trash collected on Coastal Cleanup Day since its inception in 1985. Cigarette filters are made from cellulose acetate (a plastic) and are specifically designed to absorb vapors and particles from smoke. These toxic particles, when discarded, contaminate waters and are deadly to marine life.
SF Rec and Parks will oversee clean-up efforts on city parklands in Mission Bay and China Basin, as well as India Basin, Marina Green, and Golden Gate Park. The Department will also coordinate and manage efforts in areas under the jurisdiction of other government agencies including Pier 94, Heron’s Head Park, Sutro Heights Park, Ocean Beach, Candlestick Point State Recreation Area, and Executive Park.
According to Coastal Cleanup Day 2017 Recap Report, more than 63,700 volunteers removed over 806,000 pounds of trash and recyclable materials from California’s coast and inland waterways in 2017. The event had a record-breaking 1,006 confirmed clean-up sites across the state. Since California Coastal Cleanup Day began in 1985, a total of 1.5 million volunteers have removed more than 23 million pounds of debris from California’s beaches, lakes, and waterways. With many ongoing advocacy efforts and educational initiatives, the annual California Coastal Cleanup Day has built a momentum which has and will continue to benefit the environment and support positive behavioral change in a large group of volunteers that will likely carry over into other parts of their daily lives.