Brothers Eli and Ezekiel Aquino, trash bags in tow, clambered along the rocky bayshore in Hayward, gathering plastic water bottles and other litter as their father, Rod, looked on.
The family was among thousands of volunteers who turned out Saturday for the 38th annual California Coastal Cleanup to pick up trash at beaches, lakes, creeks and rivers across the state.
The elder Aquino said he wanted to teach his sons, ages 3 and 8, the importance of taking care of the Hayward Regional Shoreline, where they often go on bike rides.
“Get them started early on volunteering, you know?” he said.
Jessica Sloan, volunteer coordinator for the East Bay Regional Parks District, said she expected a few thousand other volunteers across the district’s cleanup sites in nine parks, from Radke Martinez Regional Shoreline in the north to Oakland’s Temescal to Del Valle Regional Park out in the valley.
Sloan said cleaning up debris not only keeps the state’s beaches and waterways clean, but also helps protect local ecosystems and wildlife, like birds and sea turtles, which can become entangled in plastic waste, or eat it.
“Every piece of trash that’s picked up, whether it be up in the hills, whether it be in your neighborhood, or even here today, is going to make a big difference in keeping our parks as clean and nice as possible,” Sloan said.
Since 1985 when the event first began, more than 1.6 million volunteers have removed over 26 million pounds of trash from California’s outdoors. During last year’s event, which was scaled back due to the pandemic, 36,289 volunteers picked up 363,719 pounds of trash. In the biggest years, more than 70,000 volunteers have turned out, and hauled in 1 million pounds or more.
This year, the California Coastal Commission, which organized the event, on Saturday reported that tens of thousands of Californians again removed hundreds of thousands of pounds of trash.
“These events really do more than help us capture huge amounts of trash before it enters the ocean,” the commission’s executive director, Jack Ainsworth, said in a statement. “Coastal Cleanup Day brings us together to celebrate our precious waterways and coastal resources as a community.”
Jim Cauble took part in Saturday’s cleanup, donning a white bucket hat and neon green traffic vest with the words “Pickup Artist” emblazoned across the back. Cauble, a retired Hayward resident, said he adopted the moniker as a way to have fun during his weekly trash pickup outings.
“We’re going to have to turn this planet over to our grandkids, and their kids, and if we leave it like this, that’s not even nice,” Cauble said. “Something has to be done about it.”
Peyton Alaniz, 11, volunteered at the cleanup with Job’s Daughters International, a youth organization for girls. She filled her trash bag with plastic straws and pieces of tin, and also discovered a glass vial with a cork stopper that looked to be decades old.
“I like picking up all the stuff and finding all the cool rocks,” said Peyton, who lives in San Leandro.
Saturday was Peyton’s first organized cleanup. When asked if she planned to join another one in the future, she answered without hesitation.
“For sure!” she said.
Soruce : https://www.mercurynews.com/2022/09/17/thousands-turn-out-in-bay-area-for-california-coastal-cleanup/