Coastal cleanup part of nation’s largest volunteer effort

Volunteers worked to clear up trash at the Berkeley Marina on Saturday September 15. Photo Ben Knobel

It was California Coastal Cleanup Day on Saturday and locals of all ages turned out in the hundreds to help keep Bay Area beaches and waterways clear of trash.

The annual cleanup, orchestrated by the California Coastal Commission, is the state’s largest volunteer event. When combined with the International Coastal Cleanup, organized by Ocean Conservancy and taking place on the same day, California Coastal Cleanup Day becomes part of one of the largest volunteer events in the world.

A group of Berkeley High students joined dozens of volunteers down on the Berkeley Marina to clear garbage, and also made note of what they found.

Groups of volunteers worked near the water’s edge on the Berkeley Marina. Photo: Ben Knobel

“There were lots of young people as well as families with children,” said Ben Knobel, a BHS senior, who heard about the project through his Environmental Systems and Societies class. “We used data sheets to record the trash we picked up — which was mostly Styrofoam and plastic,” he said.

Knobel added that they had been warned to look out for hypodermic needles. But his group’s most memorable find was a washed-up back-pack. When they looked inside, the volunteers found a tin of brown sugar and a Boy Scouts handbook.

Oliver Levitch and Joe Kahn monitor trash as part of the clean-up operation. Photo: Ben Knobel

Children joined in the volunteer effort on California Coastal Cleanup Day. Photo: Ben Knobel

Disclosure: Ben Knobel is the son of two of Berkeleyside’s founders.

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