Volunteers ready for shoreline cleanups

Volunteers ready for shoreline cleanups
River and beach cleanup volunteers are asked to bring their own gloves and buckets to in order to cut down on the trash cleanup events generate. Cleanups beautify the environment, and enhance wildlife survival and human recreation. Photo by Promise Yee

OCEANSIDE — Shoreline cleanups are planned for the San Luis Rey River and Oceanside Pier beach Jan. 25 and Feb. 1.

The city of Oceanside Clean Water Program is sponsoring the San Luis Rey River cleanup in January with volunteer meetup sites along the river at Highway 76 and Benet Road; Highway 76 and Foussat Road bike path; Douglas Drive bike path; Mance Buchanon Park; and Oceanside Harbor.

The river cleanup has been postponed the last two years due to maintenance of the flood control channel, which has closed trails and not allowed access. Volunteers are highly needed to remove trash that has built up.

“We have high debris collection because of lack of cleanup,” Cynthia Mallett, city

environmental specialist said.

During river cleanups items including plastic bags, food wrappers and small appliances are commonly found.

Mallett said trash accumulates along the river from items that fly out of cars on nearby roadways or discarded items that are part of homeless encampments.

“Homeless encampment materials like blankets and grocery store waste, we’ve seen a lot of that,” Mallett said.

Volunteer meetup sites recommended for families with small children are the Highway 76 and Foussat Road bike path, and Mance Buchanon Park, which have easy access and flat ground.

The Highway 76 and Benet Road, and Douglas Drive bike path sites are more rugged and a good fit for active youth groups or adults to tackle.

“I’m proud of the people who come out for the event,” Mallett said. “They’re so enthusiastic. It’s amazing what they actually haul out of there.”

Oceanside Clean Water Program oversees all cleanups in Oceanside. Most are along beaches and waterways, but cleanups are also held where a large amount of accumulated trash is reported.

The city sponsors annual cleanups along the San Luis Rey River, Loma Alta Creek, Buena Vista Creek and its three miles of beaches.

The Surfrider Foundation has coordinated with the city to hold monthly cleanups at Oceanside Pier. One will be held the first Saturday in February.

Beach cleanups have been held for more than 25 years.

Oceanside beaches ranks high on pounds of trash collected when compared to cleanup events at other San Diego County beaches.

Typical items found at beach cleanups are plastic wrappers, plastic foam and cigarette butts.

Discarded cigarette butts make up an overwhelming amount trash items collected and tallied.

River and creek cleanups were added to cleanup efforts about 15 years ago to remove trash and debris before it made its way down to the ocean.

The cleanup events help beautify the environment and enhance wildlife survival and human recreation. Mallett added that trash is a bacteria-laden heath hazard.

“Bacteria causes beach advisories and beach closures,” Mallett said.

The cleanup events also provide information on local waterways and the effects of pollutants.

“It’s an opportunity for the public to participate and help improve the environment,” Mallett said.

It is recommended that volunteers wear long pants, closed toes shoes, sun hats and sunscreen.

Singed release forms are needed for volunteers under age 18.

It is also advised that volunteers bring their own gloves and buckets to collect trash in order to cut down on the trash the event generates.

More information on the cleanups can be found at oceansidecleanwaterprogram.org and surfridersd.org.

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