It’s a dirty task, but someone has to do it.
Orange County Coastkeeper is expecting to hit a major milestone this weekend: an estimated 20,000 pounds of trash collected by volunteers on local beaches since 2011.
Hundreds of volunteers will be coming to the sand at Huntington State Beach on Saturday, Dec. 9 to pluck away cigarette butts, plastic straws and other debris.
“It’s bittersweet — we’re getting more volunteers, but there’s also more trash on the beach as well,” said Lauren Smith, volunteer and communications coordinator.
In its first four years, Coastkeeper collected 10,000 pounds of trash. With more hands helping, the next 10,000 will likely be collected in half that time.
Smith said last winter’s heavy storms helped push an unprecedented amount of trash onto the beach. In February, volunteers picked up the most trash they’ve ever collected at one time, when 200 volunteers disposed of about 1,200 pounds.
“It definitely kind of paints the picture for some of the issues we’re having inland. It’s a good place to start thinking about where this trash is coming from and the best ways to resolve this issue,” Smith said.
“Most of the beach trash isn’t from the beachgoers themselves, rather people who are upstream, with trash from the streets and channels and…