WATSONVILLE—The 35th annual Coastal Cleanup Day is Saturday, and organizers are asking the community for help in cleaning four inland sites around Watsonville.
California Coastal Cleanup Day was first run by the Coastal Commission, after it was inspired by Oregon resident Judy Neilson’s efforts to clean up Oregon coastal beaches. Now it is an event put on by multiple agencies, including the Ocean Conservancy, Save Our Shores and the California State Parks Foundation.
Coastal Cleanup Day is meant to raise awareness of the effects of litter—on humans, marine life and the environment. Data is collected during the cleanup to see what kind of debris is most prevalent; between 1988 and 2017, 36.96 percent found was cigarettes and cigarette filters, followed by food wrappers and containers at 10.76 percent.
Saturday’s cleanup will be held from 9 a.m. to noon at two local sloughs, the Pajaro River and Downtown Watsonville. Community members are asked to bring their own tools, buckets, reusable gloves and water bottles to minimize single-use materials.
Free morning refreshments will be available prior, and a pizza lunch will follow the cleanup.
This year’s cleanup lands on the same week as the Global Climate Strike, which has youth from across the world taking to the streets to demand action against climate change. Youth from the Pajaro Valley will meet up in Watsonville’s City Plaza in the afternoon to protest.
The City of Watsonville encourages students to continue their activism work the following day; the cleanup can count as community service hours.
For information on Watsonville cleanup sites call Chris Miranda at 768-3165. To learn about other Santa Cruz County sites visit saveourshores.org.
Watsonville Coastal Cleanup Sites:
•West Struve Slough at Pajaro Valley High School, 500 Harkins Slough Rd.
•Watsonville Slough at Watsonville Nature Center behind Ramsay Park, 30 Harkins Slough Rd.
•Pajaro River Levee at River Park, 100 East Front St.
•Downtown City Plaza at 358 Main St., meet in front of Plaza Gazebo facing Main Street.
Cleanup includes downtown streets and a walk to the Santa Cruz Metro – Watsonville Transit Center.