October 29 – Hundreds of Volunteers, Boaters Team to Clean Mission Bay

Volunteers remove 433 pounds of trash from Mission Bay and Surrounding Park

SAN DIEGO (Oct. 29, 2012) – Saturday morning hundreds of volunteers on boat and land conducted a three-hour clean sweep of Mission Bay for SeaWorld and San Diego Coastkeeper’s inaugural Mission Possible: Clean the Bay Day. More than 140 participants joined the on-the-water effort by boat, kayak and paddleboard, as well as by foot for the shoreline cleanup around Marie Starns Park. In total, volunteers removed 433 pounds of trash including unusual items like a DVD, an engine pump, a can of foam cleaner and a street sign. Today’s event ended with a celebration at the park to honor volunteers and give away prizes such as yearlong passes to SeaWorld to the volunteers who removed the most unusual item, the most cigarette butts, the most trash and the group with the best team spirit. DOWNLOAD A VIDEO NEWS RELEASE and PHOTOS FROM TODAY’S EVENT.

“Since I use the water, I feel like I should give back,” said Jenn Bethe, a Pacific Beach resident, who participated in Mission Possible and has been doing beach cleanups and kayaking for more than 20 years. “It’s like helping your playground.” As a high school teacher at El Cajon Valley High School, Bethe said she enjoyed seeing the large number of youth at today’s cleanup. When they learn to volunteer at a young age, they are more likely to continue volunteering as adults, she said.

Since January 2012, volunteers with San Diego Coastkeeper have removed 740 pounds of debris from beaches on Mission Bay and nearby Mission Beach.  Most of these are buoyant items, like plastic foam and plastic particles, bags, wrappers and straws that impair water quality and degrade coastal habitats, and also harm wildlife through entanglement or ingestion.  While volunteers collected these items on the shoreline, the presence of debris extends into the water as well.  Sitting at the base of the San Diego Watershed, water from inland creeks, streams, rivers, and rain events flows into Mission Bay on its way to the Pacific Ocean.  Water transports trash left on the ground or accidentally blown out of trash bins through our watershed into our coastal waters.

SeaWorld’s Rescue Team sees first-hand the effects of marine debris because they care for animals that become entangled or ingest the items.  Every year, SeaWorld rescues an average of 200 marine mammals, many of them affected by debris or pollution, such as fishing line and gear, oil spills and general debris such as plastic bags and other trash items.  Debris also affects sea birds, especially pelicans.  In 2012 so far, SeaWorld has cared for more than 200 brown pelicans, many of which were injured or ill because of marine debris.

About San Diego Coastkeeper:
Founded in 1995, San Diego Coastkeeper protects and restores fishable, swimmable and drinkable water in San Diego County. Visit online at https://www.sdcoastkeeper.org

About SeaWorld San Diego:
With more than 145 million visitors since its opening on March 21, 1964, SeaWorld is San Diego’s leading tourist attraction and one of the most popular marine-life parks in the world.  SeaWorld San Diego is one of 10 parks operated by SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment.  A global leader in animal care and conservation, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment cares for more than 60,000 animals including 200 endangered or threatened species. This commitment extends to animals around the world–the company has contributed more than $50 million to conservation, wildlife rescue and environmental stewardship initiatives and operates one of the world’s most respected animal rescue and rehabilitation programs.  SeaWorld parks have rescued more than 20,000 orphaned, injured or ill animals over four decades; SeaWorld San Diego alone has rescued more than 6,000 animals during that time.