NOAA 03-R448
Contact: Ben Sherman
NOAA News Releases 2003
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Hundreds of volunteers will spend Saturday, Sept. 20, 2003 in the largest volunteer beach cleanup event in the world by clearing debris from California beaches and waterways, including those bordering the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS). The event marks the 19th Annual Coastal Cleanup Day, sponsored countywide this year by the sanctuary. Data collected on the washed-up debris is used to support legislation such as the MARPOL Protocol, which in 1998 banned the dumping of plastics at sea. The sanctuary is managed by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The statewide cleanup is coordinated by the California Coastal Commission and sponsored by the sanctuary, Oracle, Reliant Energy, Fetzer Vinyards, Intel, Starbucks Coffee Company, Bank of America, Universal Studios, KPMG, California State Parks Foundation, Digitcare, and BD Medical Supply. This year’s Monterey County cleanup is coordinated by the MBNMS and made possible by the Monterey Dunes Natural History Association, On The Beach Surf Shop, Cannery Row Business Association, Monterey Bay Kayaks, Orchard Supply Hardware, Pebble Beach Company, Monterey Regional Waste Management District, and KSES 107.1 FM.

“The Coastal Cleanup effort is an excellent way for citizens to get involved in protecting their sanctuary,” said William J. Douros, MBNMS superintendent. “The event also brings together many groups and organizations that are interested in improving our marine environment.”

Marine debris in our oceans and watersheds is dangerous to humans and animals, causes economic impacts, and is unsightly. To a sea turtle, a floating plastic bag looks like a jellyfish meal. Fishing line entangles marine mammals and birds, and also damages fishing gear, increasing the cost of marine-based products. Years of Coastal Cleanup Day data has revealed 60 percent of beach debris originates from inland sources of pollution such as cigarette butts and plastic drink bottles. This debris washes down storm drains directly to our oceans.

Last year, California had 46,000 volunteers remove 860,000 pounds of trash and recyclables from 2,500 miles of shoreline. In Monterey County alone, over 1,600 volunteers at 24 local sites cleared over 8,000 pounds (over 4 tons!) of trash and recyclable materials. Unusual items were a hibachi barbecue, a slingshot, a plastic eyeball, and baby shoes.

Volunteers are invited to come to any of the designated cleanup sites by 9 a.m. on Saturday. The event ends at noon. The cleanup sites bordering the sanctuary are listed below. Two cleanup site captains are Spanish bilingual, provided through the sanctuary’s Multicultural Education for Resource Issues Threatening Oceans (MERITO) and KSES 107.1 FM. Volunteers are encouraged to bring drinking water, comfortable shoes, layered clothing and sunscreen. Site captains will provide trash bags, gloves and debris collection data cards to participants. The completed data cards are sent to The Ocean Conservancy so they can monitor the data for change in types of debris and sources.

Each participant is required to sign a waiver at the cleanup site. Minors must have a parent or guardian available to sign the event waiver. Groups are encouraged to register in advance for a preferred site, or may be directed to a site that needs extra help. Participants can save time by downloading and completing the waiver in advance from the California Coastal Cleanup Day Web site, Interested volunteers may contact Monterey County Coordinator Jean Scott at (831) 647-4238 or e-mail For statewide information call the California Coastal Commission cleanup hotline, 1-800-COAST-4U or visit their Web site at:

MERITO is a marine conservation outreach effort involving 25 regional and statewide groups serving Hispanic citizens living near the sanctuary. MERITO was launched in Fall 2002, and is working with a cadre of partners to provide classroom support, field trips, training and resources, college internships, volunteer opportunities, event support and a forum for expanding bilingual outreach programs within sanctuaries.

Managed by NOAA’s National Marine Sanctuary Program, the MBNMS stretches along 276 miles of central California coast, encompassing more than 5,300 square miles of ocean area. Renowned for its scenic beauty and remarkable productivity, the sanctuary supports one of the world’s most diverse marine ecosystems, including 33 species of marine mammals, 94 species of seabirds, 345 species of fish and thousands of marine invertebrates and plants.

NOAA National Marine Sanctuary Program (NMSP) seeks to increase the public awareness of America’s maritime heritage by conducting scientific research, monitoring, exploration and educational programs. Today, 13 national marine sanctuaries encompass more than 18,000 square miles of America’s ocean and Great Lakes natural and cultural resources. In addition, the NMSP is conducting a sanctuary designation process to incorporate the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve into the national sanctuary system.

NOAA’s National Ocean Service manages the NMSP and is dedicated to exploring, understanding, conserving and restoring the nation’s coasts and oceans. The National Ocean Service balances environmental protection with economic prosperity in fulfilling its mission of promoting safe navigation, supporting coastal communities, sustaining coastal habitats and mitigating coastal hazards.

The Commerce Department’s NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of our nation’s coastal and marine resources.

On the Web:


NOAA National Ocean Service:

National Marine Sanctuary Program:

Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary:

Monterey County Cleanup Sites:

  • Zmudowski State Beach
  • Moss Landing State Beach
  • Elkhorn Slough-Carneros Creek
  • Elkhorn Slough- Kirby Park
  • Salinas River State Beach-Sandholte Rd.
  • Salinas River State Beach-Potrero Rd. (Spanish bilingual beach captain)*
  • Salinas River State Beach-Molera Rd.
  • Salinas River National Wildlife Refuge
  • Marina State Beach-Reservation Rd. (Spanish bilingual beach captain)*
  • Marina State Beach-Lake Ct.
  • Sand City-Bay St.
  • Naval Postgraduate School
  • Wharf 2/Window on the Bay
  • San Carlos Beach/ Coast Guard Pier
  • Cannery Row-McAbee Beach
  • Lover's Point
  • Asilomar State Beach
  • Spanish Bay
  • Carmel City Beach
  • Carmel River State Beach
  • Monastery State Beach

* Spanish bilingual beach captain provided by the sanctuary’s MERITO Program