September 13 – San Diego Coastkeeper starts volunteer Pollution Patrollers program

Highly trained volunteers will investigate pollution sources, combat urban runoff

SAN DIEGO, Sept. 6, 2011 – On Saturday, September 17, around 10,000 volunteers will visit 90 coastal and inland cleanup sites for a one-day attack on marine debris and inland pollution. This year, Coastal Cleanup Day coordinators I Love A Clean San Diego and San Diego Coastkeeper highlight on their website several green “in need” cleanup sites, where data from the annual event show a higher demand for volunteers. To reduce the event’s carbon footprint and individual waste, organizers also ask volunteers to select local sites in their own communities and to bring reusable buckets, bags, work gloves and water bottles.
“Trash travels from inland communities into storm drains which empty into our canyons, creek beds and eventually the ocean,” said Pauline Martinson, Executive Director for I Love A Clean San Diego. “That’s why it’s especially important for volunteers to lend a hand in their local neighborhood—our entire county needs a cleaning.”
To encourage participation in areas that need extra hands, San Diego’s Coastal Cleanup Day website, www.cleanupday.org features “in need” sites labeled in green in areas such as Clairemont, Normal Heights, City Heights, La Mesa, Tijuana River Valley and more. These sites were identified based on data from previous cleanups, indicating that some inland sites recover more debris as well as larger items such as tires, couches, and more.
“A recent statewide survey shows that this event significantly increases knowledge about the causes of marine debris—and that’s the first step in stopping the problem,” said Alicia Glassco, Education and Marine Debris Manager at Coastkeeper. “We see Coastal Cleanup Day as a hands-on educational event that connects residents to their neighborhood while removing harmful debris.”
I Love A Clean San Diego and San Diego Coastkeeper also ask volunteers to reduce their carbon footprint while participating in the event. Instead of traveling long distance to a site, volunteers should stay at their local cleanup locations and remember to bring their own reusable bag or bucket, work gloves and water bottle.
Last year in San Diego County, volunteer involvement rose to approximately 9,000 participants, with another 3,000 volunteers lending their support across the border in the U.S./Mexico-shared Tijuana Watershed. Volunteers removed close to 100 tons of debris from more than 80 cleanup sites along the coastline and in canyons, creek beds, lagoons, estuaries and open spaces.
This year, volunteers should register on the San Diego County event website at www.cleanupday.org. The website includes an interactive Google Map with all cleanup sites in the region, including a handful of green “in need” sites. Sites where registration is at capacity are denoted in red. Information for children, scouts, and groups are also available on the website.

SAN DIEGO, CA – Sept.13, 2011—San Diego Coastkeeper has launched its newest weapon to combat urban runoff in San Diego—Pollution Patrollers. This team of highly trained volunteers will scour San Diego County seeking sources of pollution that contribute to urban runoff. Commonly cited as the number one threat to water quality in San Diego, urban runoff contains pollutants such as oil, grease, pesticides, metals, bacteria, viruses and toxic chemicals that wash into the region’s waters during rainstorms and over irrigation.

When residents join Pollution Patrollers, San Diego Coastkeeper trains them about the federal Clean Water Act and how its permitting process requires every city in San Diego County to ensure municipal, commercial, industrial and residential sites minimize urban runoff pollution. Volunteers will use their training to inspect various sites throughout the county to ensure that the cities meet their permit guidelines. Coastkeeper’s Environmental Law & Policy Clinic plans to use the patroller-gathered data to identify problem areas around the county and to assist local cities to change practices that lead to urban runoff pollution.

“Pollution Patrollers gets right at the heart of what San Diego Coastkeeper stands for: empowering citizens to enforce the Clean Water Act here in San Diego,” said Dylan Edwards, San Diego’s Coastkeeper’s Volunteer Coordinator. “With recent slashing of government budgets statewide, it’s more important than ever that volunteers help supplement the fight against urban runoff.”

In addition to scheduled inspections of sites coordinated by San Diego Coastkeeper, Pollution Patrollers volunteers will have the knowledge to identify pollution “hot spots” in their own neighborhoods so that San Diego Coastkeeper can help find solutions to stop the pollution at the source.

The next Pollution Patrollers volunteer training will take place on September 20 from 6 p.m. -8 p.m. and the next formal patrol will take place on October 1. New volunteers must RSVP by contacting Dylan Edwards at (619) 758-7743 x131 or dylan@sdcoastkeeper.org. Volunteers must attend a Pollution Patrollers training in order to participate in the formalized inspections.

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Founded in 1995, San Diego Coastkeeper protects the region’s inland and coastal waters for the communities and wildlife that depend on them by blending education, community empowerment and advocacy. Visit us online at http://localhost/sdcoastkeeper. Coastkeeper is a registered trademark and servicemark and is licensed for use by Waterkeeper Alliance.