More than 430 pounds of garbage removed from Mission Bay, shoreline

Event organized by San Diego Coastkeeper, SeaWorld

SAN DIEGO - About 140 volunteers removed more than 430 pounds of garbage from Mission Bay and its shoreline on Saturday that included an engine pump and a street sign, according to San Diego Coastkeeper and Sea World.

Participants in boats and kayaks and on paddle boards also pulled a can of foam cleaner, a DVD and numerous cigarette butts from the bay during the three-hour cleanup, dubbed SeaWorld and San Diego Coastkeeper's "Mission Possible: Clean the Bay Day." The area around Marie Starns Park was tidied up as well, according to event organizers.

"Since I use the water, I feel I should give back," participant Jenn Bethe of Pacific Beach said. "It's like helping your playground."

The event wrapped up with a celebration in the park in which prizes were awarded to the volunteers who removed the most unusual item, the most cigarette butts, the most trash and the group with the best team spirit, officials said.

San Diego Coastkeeper volunteers have removed about 740 pounds of debris from beaches on Mission Bay and from Mission Beach since January. The trash included mostly buoyant items like plastic foam and bags that the organization said could impair water quality, degrade coastal habitats and harm wildlife.

Sea World's Rescue Team cares for animals that become entangled in the debris or ingest the items. Each year, the teams rescue an average of 200 marine mammals, many who are affected by debris or pollution like fishing line, oil, plastic bags and other trash, officials said, Sea World officials said.

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