2014 Coastal Cleanup Day Results

by Diane Terry

Sept. 23, 2014—The results from Saturday’s coastal cleanup haul are in, revealing this year’s dirtiest zone: the San Lorenzo Valley. Three of the top five dirtiest cleanup sites were in SLV, where roughly 24 percent of all waste for this year’s Coastal Cleanup was collected. “Those three sites are consistently trashed because of illegal dumping,” says Save Our Shores' Jenna Nicholson. “Items like mattresses, tires, and even the camper shell of a truck were found.” Yikes.

The top five dirtiest cleanup sites, in order, were Elkhorn Slough Research Reserve with an estimated 4,800 pounds collected; Felton Covered Bridge Park with 2,700 pounds; Upper Carr Lake in Salinas with 2,062 pounds; Lompico Creek at Lompico Park with 1,700 pounds; and San Lorenzo River at Fillmore Street in Ben Lomond with 817 pounds.

Apart from the addition of Lompico Creek (what’s with the camper shell and all the mattresses, people?), this year’s lineup of shame is eerily similar to last year’s. It’s also important to note that the top five dirtiest sites continue to be located inland—unfortunately due to the area’s apparent reputation as a dumping ground hotspot. Fortunately there are volunteers who head to the mountains rather than the typical beach spots for Coastal Cleanup Day.

Read 2013 Coastal Cleanup Day Results
Read The Cleanest Beaches in Santa Cruz County 2014
Read Brat Patrol: Weekly Davenport Cleanups

Every pound of waste collected is cause for celebration, but this year’s record-breaking results deserve a standing ovation. According to Save Our Shores, 820 more volunteers than last year flocked to nearby waters, where 4,832 more pounds of waste were removed.

In the 83 sites between Waddell Creek and Big Sur, a total of 3,884 volunteers collected a whopping 21,979 pounds of waste. A majority of the waste collected was trash (18,806 lbs), but recyclable waste accounted for a hefty amount (3,172 lbs).

Breaking the results into counties, Santa Cruz came in the lead. In Santa Cruz County, 2,588 volunteers collected 12,059 pounds. In Monterey County, 1,296 volunteers collected 9,920 pounds. We are still mystified by the incredible waste-removal bravado of Monterey folk; they collected an average 7.7 pounds of waste per person, versus the 4.7 pound average for Santa Cruzians. Just like last year, we wonder if Monterey is the more popular dumping ground or if the volunteers possess secret trash-collecting powers.

Despite the incredible haul of waste collected on annual Coastal Cleanup Day, one day a year is not enough to keep our waterways clean. Save Our Shores conducts monthly cleanups in Santa Cruz County on the 3rd Saturday of each month, as well as in Monterey County on the 2nd Saturday of each month from 10am-noon. SOS also coordinates regular cleanups at Davenport Beach, Cowells Beach, Panther Beach, Carmel Beach and others. Check out the Save Our Shores event calendar for specific dates and locations.