Nearly 208,000 pieces of trash were collected by volunteers along the San Diego coast in 2014, environmental groups San Diego Coastkeeper and the local Surfrider Foundation chapter are reporting.
Once again, cigarette butts are the most likely item to be retrieved, with nearly 75,000 included in the total. Plastic and foam items and fragments were also high on the list, though cleanup organizers also found condoms, tampons, glow sticks, and even a stethoscope scattered across the region's beaches.
Overall, 7000 volunteers logged time at one of the groups' events, removing 10,500 pounds of garbage from the sand.
"This trash doesn’t necessarily start at the beach — its path is one of wind and rain from the far reaches of inland San Diego County," said Coastkeeper’s Kristin Kuhn in a December 29 release. "Each year I’m alarmed by the number of items and their weight, and I’m also reminded how these small pieces of debris indicate a much larger issue to solve."
Fiesta Island was the year's worst location, both in terms of the average amount of trash collected per volunteer (3.4 pounds) and total volume of trash removed (1127 pounds).
Another 40 cleanups are already planned for next year, starting with a 9 a.m. event set for Saturday, January 3 at Oceanside Pier.