A World Event Now!
Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel
Volunteers around the world turned out for this year's International Coastal Cleanup Day, September 15th. What started out in California in 1985 as a day to clean the coast has not only spread inland, but to other states and more than 100 countries with 6 million people participating.
With environmental groups, including the Ocean Conservancy, Surfrider Foundation, Oceana, Heal the Bay, and Orange County Coastkeeper, leading the charge, volunteers turned out to pick up trash and educate their local communities about the need to protect our oceans and beaches.
In Huntington Beach, CA (Surf City USA) Surfrider Foundation members were up early setting up booths and getting ready to turn the beach into a pristine blanket of sand.
No easy task, this involved collecting everything from cigarette butts, plastic bags and straws to bottle caps, cup lids, food wrappers, and an array of other trash items.
SoCal artist Katie Peck, a graduate of Orange County's Chapman University, knows firsthand all the flotsam and jetsam that ends up on the beach.
For the past two Coastal Cleanup Days she has turned beach trash into art, creating a Wave in 2017 that was made out of assorted plastics.
And a Seagull in 2018 made from 1,500 cigarette butts. Both artworks were showcased in Huntington Beach to build public awareness of the pollution problem that plagues the world's beaches.
Meanwhile, as the sun moved from time zone to time zone, volunteers in the UK, France, Germany, Bulgaria, Croatia, Italy, Cyprus and Montenegro collected trash. And Africa, Australia, Vietnam and the Philippines, too.
Even volunteers from Carnival Cruise Line were on board.
Record numbers of volunteers turned out in Great Britain cleaning over 300 locations from North of Scotland to the Channel Islands. In France over 1.2 tons of plastic trash were collected.
The beach gives so much to us - soft sands, balmy days, perfect waves. Like the tree in Shel Silverstein's children's book, The Giving Tree, it would give us everything, until nothing was left.
But, on one day in September, surfers and non-surfers alike had another thought in mind –
to give back to the beach!
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