Surfrider Foundation hosts cleanup at San Diego beaches

Locations at Ocean Beach, PB and Mission Beach

SAN DIEGO - Hundreds of volunteers helped clean up four beaches in San Diego and Oceanside the day after Fourth of July celebrations.

"Morning After Mess" cleanups were held at Belmont Park, Crystal Pier and Ocean Beach Pier in San Diego, and the beach at the south harbor jetty in Oceanside, were sponsored by the San Diego chapter of the Surfrider Foundation.

Ocean Beach was the biggest mess because of an annual marshmallow fight that has grown in popularity in recent years, Haley Haggerstone of the foundation said. She called it "a sticky mess."

"It's no wonder so many people choose to celebrate Independence Day on our beaches here in San Diego, but more visitors means more trash, which threatens our oceans, waves and beaches," Haggerstone said. "We want to remind everyone to stay classy, not trashy and help keep our beaches clean -- it's kind of a big deal."

"Why don't they put up barriers? Why don't they put up signs that say, 'please keep it on the beach?'" said Ocean Beach resident Vince Adame.

Mike Gastelum and his wife volunteer to help clean up every year.

"Something has to be done, but I don't know what they could do; people get out of control, they get the liquid courage and they all just lose their minds and all you can do is ask people to mellow out," said Gastelum.

Jeff Snagrass, a volunteer, said whoever participated in the marshmallow fight should also help cleanup the aftermath.

"This is isn't necessarily the funnest part of it, but if you do the fun part you [have to] do the non-fun part," said Snagrass. "The bottom line is if you're going to do it, clean up after yourself."

The amount of waste collected each year has decreased since a ban on alcohol at San Diego beaches went into effect in 2008, Haggerstone said.

About 450 volunteers collected 2,372 pounds of trash this year, about 250 pounds less than last year, Haggerstone said. They also picked up 195 pounds of recyclables.

She said they also recovered 764 plastic bags, 1,163 pieces of Styrofoam and 12,685 cigarette butts.

Last year, volunteers picked up 2,607 pounds of trash and 191 pounds of recyclables, according to the foundation. The collected litter included 559 plastic bags and 13,200 cigarette butts.

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