Ocean Beach crowd on July 4
Crowds at Ocean Beach on July 4. Courtesy Lt. A. Lerum / San Diego Fire-Rescue

More than 1,493 pounds of trash and recycling were collected Thursday during the Surfrider Foundation San Diego‘s annual post-Fourth of July beach cleanups, the nonprofit organization announced.

More than 525 volunteers participated in the “Morning After Mess” events, held in collaboration with I Love a Clean San Diego and San Diego Coastkeeper at Ocean Beach Pier, Fiesta Island, Pacific Beach and Oceanside Pier. Those areas were chosen because of their high concentration of beachgoers and “notorious reputation” for post-Independence Day trash, according to Surfrider.

Better habits, including less reliance on single-use plastics, could reduce the necessity to hold beach cleanups, said Mitch Silverstein, Surfrider San Diego coordinator.

“The more people visit the beach, the more trash ends up on the beach. But it doesn’t have to be that way! Most of what our volunteers pick up could be avoided if we chose reusable items instead of single-use ones,” he said. “Start simple — reusable bags, reusable water bottle, reusable coffee mug. Those three items will cut your waste footprint drastically, and they’ll help keep our streets and beaches clean.”

More than 8,000 cigarette butts and 1,535 plastic food wrappers were collected at local beaches Thursday, according to Surfrider. A few unusual items were found, as well, including a garage door opener and head massager.

An estimated 322,500 people flocked to beaches in the City of San Diego on the national holiday, according to the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department.

— City News Service

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.