Beaches, Estuary Need Alamedans on Saturday

As part of California Coastal Cleanup Day 2012, organizations around town are asking for volunteers to come pick up garbage at Crown Beach, along the Alameda-Oakland Estuary and on other parts of the Island.

The cleanup at Crown Beach runs from 8:30 a.m. to noon on September 15, while the estuary event is set for 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

“This is part of a nationwide effort to clean up waterways and shorelines,” said David Marshburn, of the Oakland Yacht Club in Alameda. “And it’s being staged along with efforts in other parts of the island.”

This includes cleanup projects near the Aeolian Yacht Club (by the Bay Farm Island Bridge), Ballena Isle Marina and Grand Marina.

Volunteers coming to the estuary should wear boots in case they need to go into wet, muddy areas, event organizers said. “We hope to cover the full area, from cove by Wind River to the Marina Village area docks,” he said.

Those attending any of the cleanup projects should bring gloves if possible and wear a hat.

“It’s really great to see all the people that turn out and walk up and down an area until it is clean,” said Kevin Fox, a recreation supervisor for East Bay Regional Park District. “It’s also a great way to introduce kids to the culture of volunteerism while getting them outside.”

Since the cleanup began in 1985, more than one million Californians have removed more than 18 million pounds of trash and recyclables from the state’s coast and waterways. In 2011, about 71,700 volunteers picked up 1.3 million pounds of trash and recyclables from the state’s beaches, lakes, creeks and waterways.

“This year, there’s the potential for participants to encounter debris that washes up in California as a result of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan,” Fox noted.

The park district will have more than 30 coordinators in the Crown Beach area, and the city of Alameda will also have staff on hand to support this effort, which drew approximately 655 volunteers last year. They collected enough trash to fill two 20-square-yard containers and also picked up several pounds of recyclables, according to Fox.

It’s especially important that volunteers collect plastic refuse, which can hurt wildlife. Thus, volunteers are asked to bring plastic buckets rather than plastic bags to the event. “We want to get away from creating waste at the event,” Fox explained.

Janet Levaux