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Volume 6, Issue 76  | September 21, 2021


Coastal Cleanup Day takes place at Upper Newport Bay on September 18

The Newport Bay Conservancy (NBC) is once again hosting Coastal Cleanup Day at Upper Newport Bay in person on Saturday, Sept. 18, from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. Last year’s event was celebrated virtually, with a webinar (Trash Talk Challenge: Coastal Cleanup Day) encouraging volunteers to pick up trash in their own neighborhood. This year, more than 800 volunteers are expected to meet at Upper Newport Bay to pick up trash together. The goal is to remove 10,000 pounds of trash from the uplands and marsh areas of the bay. 

“This will be a much-needed deep cleaning of Upper Newport Bay,” said Newport Bay Conservancy Operations Director Heather Cieslak. “Since the last major cleanup in 2019, we have experienced a new wave of waste from the increased use of single-use plastics, and disposable masks and gloves used during the pandemic. These items and other trash can harm wildlife, pollute our waterways and threaten public health. Volunteer support is crucial to our mission.”

Coastal Cleanup volunteers

Photo by Holly Fuhrer

Volunteers during a previous Coastal Cleanup Day at the Bay

Unlike past Coastal Cleanup Days at the Bay, this year’s volunteers will not all meet at the same starting point. There will be 20 to 25 different mini sites around the bay, including the Peter and Mary Muth Interpretive Center, Newport Aquatic Center, Big Canyon, Vista Point and Jamboree Bridge. Volunteers are asked to register online via Eventbrite, and before the event will receive instructions explaining where to meet and what to bring to the cleanup. Shuttles will carry volunteers to areas of the bay where parking or direct access isn’t available and accessible options are available. “Everyone is welcome to lend a hand,” said Cieslak, although minors need guardian permission and adult volunteers present (ages 6 and up may participate).

As Operations Director of the Newport Bay Conservancy, Cieslak sees first-hand the trash that flows into the bay all year, but it’s the heavy rains, she says, that bring the most litter to the nature preserve. “The bay collects water and refuse from a 154-square-mile watershed, which includes seven different cities. When it rains, trash and debris from the city streets wash down the storm drains, which eventually end up in the Upper Newport Bay and Pacific Ocean.” Some items commonly found in the bay are cigarettes, plastic straws, food wrappers, polystyrene (Styrofoam), tires, clothing, toys, tennis balls and even dangerous items such as hypodermic needles. “The best thing you can do is stop the litter at its source by picking up trash when you see it on the street and disposing of it properly,” Cieslak concluded.

Coastal Cleanup trash

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of Newport Bay Conservancy

When it rains, trash and debris from the city streets wash down the storm drains, which can end up in Upper Newport Bay

And we can all follow the 5 Rs as much as possible: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose and Recycle.

For a full list of all Coastal Cleanup Day sites in Orange County, visit Orange County Coastkeeper’s website, and for more information about the Newport Bay Conservancy, visit www.newportbay.org.

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