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Over 3 Tons of Waste Removed in Santa Barbara County on Coastal Cleanup Day

By Sep 26, 2022 - Clean-Ups

Santa Barbara: 1,305 volunteers showed up for Coastal Cleanup Day on Saturday, September 17th at 32 sites throughout the County. These dedicated community members picked up 5,811 pounds of trash and 746 pounds of recyclables for a total of 6,557 pounds or 3.28 tons of waste. Altogether, they covered an estimated 65 miles at sites ranging from Rincon Beach Park to Guadalupe Dunes.

Lydia Ballantine, Coastal Cleanup Day Coordinator for Explore Ecology says, "Coastal Cleanup Day 2022 was a huge success! We had the most sites ever this year with 32 cleanup locations, and the most volunteers ever who collected more trash than we have in any other year organizing the cleanup. It's truly amazing what we can do in a single day to help keep our waterways and oceans clean!"

So far, with 1/3 of the Site Captains reporting their final data for individual items found, the top three types of litter in Santa Barbara County are: plastic pieces, cigarette butts, and foam pieces.

The most unusual items found this year in Santa Barbara County were a million dollar bill, the bottom of a boat, and a Samurai sword sheath.

Jill Cloutier, PR Director for Explore Ecology says, "Volunteers of all ages came together for a common cause- a clean coastline. A lot of debris was picked up and removed from creeks, beaches, parks, and inland areas. Our beaches are not only cleaner, but 6,557 pounds of material will no longer be flowing into the ocean. That is a big win for wildlife!"

Coastal Cleanup Day would not happen without the assistance and dedication of Site Captains who volunteer their time, help attendees at their sites, count all of the litter picked up, and report it to Explore Ecology. They are essential to the event running smoothly, whether they've been leading a cleanup for 20 years or if this was their first Coastal Cleanup Day.

First time Site Captain Al Souma says, "Coastal Cleanup Day was an opportunity to create what can be and to bring it to fruition. As a Site Captain, I felt as if I was an important community member helping to navigate towards the environment we all desire. My favorite part was observing how many parents brought their children along to create a teachable moment for the next generation!"

Coastal Cleanup Day is part of a much larger international event. With 60% of the cleanup sites reporting, the California count stands at 27,185 volunteers who picked up 220,861 pounds of trash and an additional 29,702 pounds of recyclable materials. The total so far statewide is 250,563 pounds or 125 tons.

Lydia Ballantine says, "Keeping trash out of our oceans isn't only a once a year event. By 2040, the amount of trash entering our oceans is projected to nearly triple. Throughout the year, you can help out by reducing the amount of plastic you use, choosing reusable, durable options, voting for people who will support our oceans, and advocating for policies that can help reduce plastic pollution at its source. All the data we collected about what people found goes to an international litter database that's used to track marine debris and support research and legislation to reduce plastic. Thank you, thank you, thank you, and I can't wait to do it all again next year!"

Volunteers who participated in the Cleanup can visit the Coastal Commission website to fill out the Coastal Cleanup Day Volunteer Survey and be entered in a drawing for prizes.

There is still time to clean up in your neighborhood, local park, or favorite beach. Community members are encouraged to cleanup any time during the month of September and their cleanup data will be included as part of Coastal Cleanup Day. Volunteers can record what they find using the Clean Swell app or the Google form on the Explore Ecology website.

For volunteers who don't want to wait until next year to participate in a beach cleanup, Explore Ecology holds monthly beach cleanups, on the 2nd Sunday of every month from 10:00 pm to 12:00 pm at Arroyo Burro Beach.

Next year’s Coastal Cleanup Day is scheduled for Saturday, September 16, 2023. Stay tuned for details on Explore Ecology's website:

Statewide, Coastal Cleanup Day is presented by the California Coastal Commission. In Santa Barbara County, the event is organized by Explore Ecology and their partner County of Santa Barbara Resource Recovery and Waste Management. Project Clean Water, the Cities of Santa BarbaraGoleta, and Solvang offer support as well as many non-profits, businesses, and generous individuals.

About Explore Ecology: Explore Ecology is an environmental education and arts nonprofit that educates over 38,000 children a year, inspiring them to engage with the natural world, think critically, and experience the value of environmental stewardship. Explore Ecology programs include the Art From Scrap Creative Reuse Store and Gallery, Watershed Resource Center, Environmental Education, and the School Gardens Program. For more information, visit

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