Press Release

Press Release: 37th Annual California Coastal Cleanup Day Sept. 18

California Coastal Commission Returns to In-person Cleanup Sites for 

the 37th Annual California Coastal Cleanup Day

The California Coastal Commission is proud to announce that the 37th Annual California Coastal Cleanup Day will return to in-person gatherings at sites around the state this Sept. 18. On this day, Californians will take to streets, parks, creeks, streams, rivers, and the coast from 9 am to 12 pm to help prevent single-use plastic items and other litter from polluting our environment and flowing into the ocean.

The ability to gather at cleanup cites was paused last year due to COVID-19 precautions. Instead, the Commission encouraged individual or household cleanups of neighborhoods, local parks, creeks, coastlines, or any place to which volunteers had safe access. Given the challenges, turnout for the month-long cleanup effort in 2020 was astounding: close to 17,000 volunteers removed over 150,000 pounds of trash, walking more than 3,000 miles while doing so.  Those volunteers added to the cleanup’s ongoing record as the state’s largest volunteer event – since 1985, more than 1.6 million volunteers have removed over 26 million pounds of trash.

This year, as the state has cautiously re-opened, most local organizers feel safe in re-establishing cleanup sites.  Volunteers should follow their county public health guidance and are encouraged to wear masks, do their best to remain at safe distances from other volunteers, and to monitor air quality to ensure that it is safe to attend the cleanup. While most cleanup sites will be able to move forward as they normally would, in some cases local organizers are reducing the number of volunteers allowed at cleanup sites to maintain safe distances. 

If anything has become apparent during the pandemic, it is that our outdoor spaces and sites of regular cleanup need the help.

“The pandemic took a significant toll on all of us in so many ways,” said the Commission’s Executive Director Jack Ainsworth. “There were times when outdoor spaces became the only places many of us could safely go to refresh and reflect. While it’s been wonderful to see so many rediscover and enjoy our coast, some of those spaces paid the price for our inability to run organized cleanup events last year. This Coastal Cleanup Day will be an important opportunity for us all to take care of this precious resource.” 

In addition to Coastal Cleanup Day, the Coastal Commission continues to encourage volunteers to recognize Coastal Cleanup Month by cleaning up wherever they are, whenever they can. Trash on our streets and in local creeks and parks can easily become ocean pollution once the rains arrive and wash that trash into stormwater systems and ultimately out to the ocean. Neighborhood cleanups give everyone the opportunity to participate, no matter when it might occur. 

Folks doing self-guided cleanups can download and use the Clean Swell app during or after the cleanup, and the totals will be automatically included within the larger statewide tally. Alternatively, you can download and print a paper data card from and send to the address on the back of the card.

To find out more about how to join the effort, the Commission has an interactive map of cleanup locations in every corner of the state, which is available at Please check the website for updates and share your cleanup experience on social media using the hashtag #coastalcleanupday and #protectyourhappyplace. Take a post cleanup survey and receive a coupon for a free taco from Rubio’s. California Coastal Cleanup Day is part of the International Coastal Cleanup, the world’s largest volunteer event.

Follow statewide efforts on Facebook at, Twitter and on Instagram at

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