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Beach Clean Up Nets Mostly Plastics

Audio

Aired 10/18/10

Last month San Diego Coastkeeper coordinated the 26th annual Coastal Cleanup Day. Volunteers gathered at 80 different sites from Oceanside to Alpine to Tijuana. San Diego Coastkeeper weighed and surveyed the trash and will join us to analyze what was collected this year. We'll hear about the strangest items found (last year this list included an ATM machine), what type of trash is most pervasive and what all this rubbish does to the health of the ocean and bays.

Last month San Diego Coastkeeper coordinated the 26th annual Coastal Cleanup Day. Volunteers gathered at 80 different sites from Oceanside to Alpine to Tijuana. San Diego Coastkeeper weighed and surveyed the trash and will join us to analyze what was collected this year. We'll hear about the strangest items found (last year this list included an ATM machine), what type of trash is most pervasive and what all this rubbish does to the health of the ocean and bays.

Guest

Alicia Glassco Marine Debris Coordinator, San Diego Coastkeeper

Read Transcript

This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: I'm Maureen Cavanaugh. You are listening to these days on KPBS. At the end of September San Diego coast keepers and I love a clean San Diego held their annual coastal cleanup Day where more volunteers signed up than ever before. Those workers remove tons of trash and debris from San Diego shoreline. The garbage ranged from cigarette butts and plastic bags to a pair of antlers. Joining me to talk about the cleanup and if the message about not leaving trash at the beach is getting through is my guest Alicia Glassco. She is marine debris coordinator for San Diego coast keeper. Good morning, Alicia.

ALICIA CLASSCO: Good morning, Maureen.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Give us a sense if you could about how much debris was

ALICIA GLASSCO: This year in San Diego County we collected the (INAUDIBLE) that’s (INAUDIBLE) thousand pounds of trash.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: This is in one day?

ALICIA GLASSCO: That's all in one morning within a four hour period. So volunteers are all across the county from up in Oceanside to down to the border area and as far inland as Alpine.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: What was the most frequent type of trash that you picked up?

ALICIA GLASSCO: Well I can almost guarantee that the most frequent number piece of trash by number was cigarette butts. Last year was about 60% of all the trash pieces that we picked up were cigarette butts.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Wow, and I mentioned a pair of antlers. What were some of the strange pieces of garbage that you guys picked up?

ALICIA GLASSCO: Yeah, the strange pieces ranged from a mannequin to a Norwegian passport that was on the beach in Pacific Beach, and of course the proverbial kitchen sink.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Oh, really?

ALICIA GLASSCO: Yes. A Styrofoam foot with a sandle on it and all sorts of things. In the Tijuana River they found a devil costume for a small toddler.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: I know this is funny and I know that you all try to have a really good time while you are doing this but give us a sense of what the marine debris, what it does, how does it affect ocean life?

ALICIA GLASSCO: Well marine debris is said to affect by entanglement or ingestion about 250 species in the ocean of (INAUDBLE). All sorts of animals are affected by trash and especially plastic than that they eat in the ocean. They will swallow it and feel full when they are not actually full and this will cause them to starve to death and also plastic which is floating and which is about 80% of the items that we find that we find in the cleanup spots that are made of oil. So that's obviously not a good thing for animals to be ingesting or to be loosing in our environment. It's like a big giant oil spill that happens every time it rains and the trash gets washed out to sea.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: This summer state legislators voted against the plastic bag ban. Where do we stand here in San Diego on plastic ordinances?

ALICIA GLASSCO: Well, San Diego coast keeper worked very, very hard to try to get that bill 1898 passed at the statewide level. We have a lot of support from cities, city Council members, businesses and waste haulers and recyclers. Unfortunately the bill did not pass so we are once again focusing on the local level. It's very difficult to pass a local ban on plastic bags. We are also looking at other types of plastic to reduce types of bags including styrofoam which is one of the top items we find in our environment as well. And also plastic bottles, plastic water bottles and plastic. So there's a number of ways that we can all reduce our impact on the ocean and on marine life by not littering and by trying to reduce our use of the single use plastic items.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Now based on what you found in this year's coastal cleanup what is your analysis of how San Diego is doing in terms of getting the message, not putting litter on our beaches and trying to protect the ocean that way?

ALICIA GLASSCO: I guess this would be a good time to give some recognition to our title sponsors. First we have the County of San Diego which helps support cleanups all throughout the year. So as volunteers are going to these cleanups they are being educated about the types of trash that are out there. They are recording the data on data cards and learning what not to throw out and also the other title sponsors Think Blue. the City of San Diego storm water department and as you probably know they have a great education and outreach campaign with radio commercials etc. that are helping get the message across and make the connection for people between the litter and coastline and inland waterways. So I think that there's a lot more education. I think that it's great that volunteers get out as much as they do. I'd say it was pretty similar to how it's been in previous years. I don't think it's gotten a lot worse, but I don't think it's gotten significantly better since we are still finding more trash.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: We could all do a better job. When is the next cleanup?

ALICIA GLASSCO: Well, both of our organizations I Love a Clean San Diego in San Diego Coast Keeper run cleanups throughout the year. Every Saturday pretty much you can find a cleanup around the county. So you can check either of our websites for that. But coastal cleanup is held the third Saturday of every month (INDAUDIBLE) heading into 2011.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Alicia Glassco, marine debris coordinator for San Diego Coast Keeper, thanks very much.

ALICIA GLASSCO: Thank you.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Coming up an encore presentation of our program, what the tea party means to today's politics that's here on these days as the series continues on KPBS.

Comments

Avatar for user 'waterfan'

waterfan | October 19, 2010 at 12:40 p.m. ― 3 years, 11 months ago

In the interest of communicating the total scope of the issue, I've updated the quantities for the (INAUDIBLE) segment near the beginning:

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Give us a sense if you could about how much debris was 'collected this coastal cleanup day'.

ALICIA GLASSCO: This year in San Diego County we collected about '198,000 pounds of trash, that's about 99 tons.'

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: This is in one day?

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