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The World's Biggest Beach Cleanup Comes to Manhattan Beach

Sep 16, 2016 08:42AM ● By Jeanne Fratello
Want to be a part of a worldwide movement - and keep our beach clean? Join Coastal Cleanup Day 2016, billed as the "world's biggest beach cleanup," on Saturday, September 17 from 9:00 a.m. to noon at the Manhattan Beach Pier.

The event, sponsored by Heal the Bay, includes more than 50 cleanup sites from Malibu to Pasadena. It is expected to draw more than 10,000 volunteers from all over Southern California  to clean up local beaches, rivers, creeks and parks.

It is part of a worldwide Coastal Cleanup Day that drew over 600,000 participants last year.

This year, there's a new special incentive: Volunteers are encouraged to search for “buried treasure” as they pick up trash. A handful of lucky treasure hunters will find "golden sea stars" hidden in the sand and underbrush at five of the coastal and inland sites. Winners can redeem the sea stars for valuable gift certificates from REI, Patagonia, and Amazon.

Participants are also urged to share cleanup pics and geotag their location on Instagram with #coastalcleanupdayLA and #healthebay for a chance to win Heal the Bay swag.

Locally, the Roundhouse Marine Studies Lab and Aquarium (at the end of the Manhattan Beach Pier) will hold a raffle after the cleanup and will be giving away jewelry from Washed Ashore, Coffee Bean gift cards, Pitfire Pizza gift cards, and Roundhouse swag.

Headed to the beach cleanup for the first time? According to Heal the Bay, first-time cleanup volunteers sometimes arrive with the expectation that they will spend a few hours removing large items of trash from the sand.

But as any cleanup veteran can tell you, the bulk of the work is picking up and removing small items like Styrofoam shards, plastic bottle caps, or cigarette butts. It’s the "dinky detritus" of our daily lives that most plagues beaches, according to Heal The Bay. The work can be tedious at times, but removing tiny pieces of trash most helps marine animals, which often mistakenly ingest harmful bits of plastic and other debris.

To give some perspective, Heal the Bay’s Marine Debris Database reveals that cleanup volunteers have collected more than 450,000 cigarette butts at L.A. County beaches since 1999. If laid end to end on the ground, those butts would easily surpass the height of Mount Everest.

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