Massive Turnout to Heal the Bay & Zero Debris Coastal Cleanup

Two women picking up trash near the north side of the Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica California. (Jacob Victorica/ Corsair Photo)  Download permissions

Two women picking up trash near the north side of the Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica California. (Jacob Victorica/ Corsair Photo)

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Santa Monica College students joined more than 500+ participants this past weekend to help clean Santa Monica Beach.

On the brisk, nippy morning and warm afternoon of Sept 15 Santa Monica College students joined more than 500 participants to help clean Santa Monica's waterfront on Bay Street beach and the adjacent areas known for their historic African-American background.

With full force over 100 Santa Monica College students showed up ready to participate & get dirty in the annual coastal cleanup. A whopping 53,721 cigarette butts being the most common piece of trash polluting our beautiful beaches. Students Kenia Garcia, Joscelin Levano, and John Lopez said they too were finding “ a lot of cigarette butts,” with Garcia adding, “even though it’s illegal to smoke here, people still do it… they know that there’re trash cans around here, but they still just throw it…” 

The trio said the most surprising thing they found was a condom; the most dangerous items were pieces of glass. Lopez added that, “I also think it’s really nice that everyone comes together to pick up, no matter how small, trash." In addition to helping collect over 353 pounds of trash & debris from Bay St. area near the Santa Monica Pier, SMC students also helped to sign up over 500 new members who will continue to assist Zero Debris and Heal The Bay in their Monthly Beach Clean-ups throughout the year.

It was less than a year ago when No Debris founder Ulrich Floresca was saddened by the amount of trash littering the beach that he actually decided to take action and do something about it. What began less than a year ago as a small group consisting of Ulrich and a few friends, blossomed into a monthly gathering that now has between twenty to thirty locals coming out once a Month on Saturday Mornings to help clean up the Santa Monica coastline. "We filled 4 bags in an hour and a half," Floresca shockingly denotes on his first costal clean up. Now, barely 10 months into it's mission of No Debris, surfers, swimmers, runners, hikers, conservationists & fellow beach-lovers come out to connect, enjoy the beach, & help clean up the trash and debris from our shoreline.

According to Heal the Bay reports on trash picked up in on LA beaches by their coastal clean-up crews, those crews have collected an obscene amount of trash consisting of in part: 53,721 cigarette butts, 94,839 plastic pieces, 43,004 foam pieces, 23,387 bottle Caps, 11,164 straws, 5948 pieces of glass, and 3964 beverage bottles for a combined total of 74,525.72 pounds of trash. 

Eco Action club member Brooke Harrington noted that, “I’ve done cleanup events in the past - it’s impactful and empowering when people see just how much trash they can pick up in a day - most people don’t realize that underneath this sand there are micro-particles of plastic and debris.” 

Not only are the numbers above only for a very small stretch of the Los Angeles, but this is also a very short list of all the items that have been collected.

Students looking for more data on the current state of our oceans, facts, figures, and a whole lot of information is available at &

If you'd like to come spend some time on the beach and help clean our beautiful California coastline, come join us on the second Saturday of every month!

The next No Debris beach walk & coastal cleanup will meet at the Bay St. lifeguard tower on October 13, from 9am-11am. 

All are welcome and encouraged to bring a friend.