Trash not only takes away from the natural beauty of San Diego’s neighborhoods and open space areas, it poses serious health threats. To help improve the health, safety and beauty of our local environment, I Love A Clean San Diego (ILACSD) has been inviting volunteers of all ages to participate in cleanup events across San Diego county for more than 60 years. ILACSD hosts two major county-wide cleanup events each year, Coastal Cleanup Day in September and Creek to Bay in April. This past April at the 2016 Creek to Bay Cleanup, a record number of volunteers turned out to help improve the health of San Diego’s beaches, bays, canyons and parks.
Over 6,400 volunteers, nearly 700 more volunteers than previous years, removed over 170,000 pounds of debris from 110 cleanup sites during the three-hour event. Additionally, volunteers spent their time with beautification projects, including graffiti removal and sowing native plants. In total, more than 19,000 hours of volunteer service were dedicated to enhancing San Diego County’s natural environment for the health and safety of the community.
“I Love A Clean San Diego’s Creek to Bay Cleanup gives everyone the opportunity to show their community pride and make a difference locally, right in their own neighborhood,” said Natalie Roberts-DeCarli, Senior Director of Operations for ILACSD. “When you expand that neighborhood action throughout San Diego County, it creates a ripple effect with a significant lasting impact on our region as a whole.”
Fourteen years ago, ILACSD hosted its first Creek to Bay Cleanup with only 27 cleanup sites and 2,000 volunteers. Since then, the event has continued to grow to beautify over 100 beaches, canyons, parks and urban spaces. Thanks to the passionate action of volunteers, over 110 communities looked their best, with fresh coats of paint to erase graffiti and open spaces free of litter and harmful pollutants. These newly cleaned areas will welcome participation from the surrounding communities and discourage littering in the future.
The Creek to Bay Cleanup provides a unique opportunity for volunteers to see environmental issues first-hand and the impact litter has on quality of life. When the environment thrives, the quality of life for San Diegans and local marine animals improves as well. The event provides residents with a convenient opportunity to give back close to home and helps to ignite community pride and connection among neighbors, all while making a lasting, positive impact on the entire region.
“The best part of being a site captain is the vested interest in protecting and enhancing the beauty and health of a "great place," be it a canyon, creek, or beach,” said Jane Donley, Ocean Beach Dog Beach Volunteer Site Captain since 1993. “Over the years one can see improvements, and socializing with neighbors for a good cause improves everyone's quality of life.”
If you couldn’t make it to the Creek to Bay cleanup last April, ILACSD will be hosting their largest cleanup event of the year, Coastal Cleanup Day, on Saturday, September 17th from 9am-noon. The Coastal Cleanup Day event offers San Diegan County residents the opportunity to be a part of a global movement. In addition to San Diego County’s 100+ sites, the cleanup will also take place across the nation and nearly 100 countries. The difference you make in your neighborhood will have a lasting impact on our entire region and around the world.
To sign up for Coastal Cleanup Day, visit: CleanupDay.org.
To learn more about I Love A Clean San Diego’s other volunteer opportunities, visit: CleanSD.org.
Article submitted by Sarah Buchholz, Marketing Manager for I Love A Clean San Diego.