NOVEMBER 5, 2023

Watchdogs + Rotary + Kiwanis: Beach Plastic Cleanup Teamup

Watchdogs, Rotary Club and Kiwanis Club members teamed up for a successful beach plastic cleanup.

Santa Barbara, CA / November 5, 2023 — Members of Marine Watchdogs, Rotary Club of Santa Barbara and Kiwanis Club of Santa Barbara teamed up yesterday for a successful cleanup at Ledbetter Beach.

"During Coastal Cleanup Day in September, some of our members used rakes," said Dave Dahl, a Marine Watchdogs Director. "We found lots of bottle caps, cigarette butts and plastic bits from toys and fishing gear buried an inch or two under the surface."

Since much of the plastic on the beaches is hidden by sand, they decided to bring more rakes and uncover and remove plastic that's covered up.

But a lot of the plastic is down deep or has already degraded into bits that are too small to pick up, some smaller than one millimeter.

"You can pick almost any spot on the beach and dig around, and you'll see tiny bits of plastic mixed in with the sand," said Dahl. "There's no practical way to remove it all, so we we're mainly focused on stopping that flow of plastic onto the beaches and into the ocean."

Over 170 trillion plastic pieces and particles currently pollute our ocean ecosystems, accordng to a PLOS study published earler this year.

The volunteer cleanup crew found a wide variety of plastic trash, much of which was uncovered using differnt kinds of rakes, including special sifter rakes.

Rakes uncover plastic in the sand

Raked beach sand
A second pass removes more cigarette butts and plastic fragments

"It was neat to work with different groups," said Gitte, a Marine Watchdogs director. "It really made a difference."

Thousands of pieces of plastic were removed from this particular beach, according to Dahl, amounting to half a dozen more (biodegradable) bags of small plastic bits like bottle caps, cigarette butts, pieces of toys, and food utensils and wrappers— all of which was heading straight for the ocean.

"It may not seem like much," said Dahl. "But imagine if we all did it."

About Marine Watchdogs

Marine Watchdogs is a nonprofit environmental action company with the mission of protecting and preserving ocean ecosystems. More

About the Rotary Club of Santa Barbara

The Rotary Club of Santa Barbara has been serving the Santa Barbara community, and the world, since 1918. Members of our Club are dedicated to community service projects, both at home and abroad, including supporting foster youth in Santa Barbara County, working with Mayan families in Guatemala, and more. More

About the Kiwanis Club of Santa Barbara

Founded in 1915, Kiwanis International is a global organization of members dedicated to serving the children of the world. More

Ledbetter Beach
Ledbetter is one of the most popular beaches on the Central Coast.