A tidy environment is a healthy ecosystem: Cleanup Day Sept. 17



Although it doesn’t actually sit on the coast, City of Camarillo officials are calling on the community to participate in the 38th annual Coastal Cleanup Day.

Though the city doesn’t have a beach, it has Calleguas Creek, which can carry litter out to the ocean.

“We are very grateful to those volunteers who continue to keep Camarillo beautiful,” said Jessica Ouellette, stormwater program manager, during the Aug. 24 City Council meeting.

The event will take place from 9 a.m. to noon Sept. 17 at two sites: the Mission Oaks barranca and Calleguas Creek.

International Coastal Cleanup, a volunteer-run event, was organized in 1984 by the Ocean Conservancy to raise awareness about the issue of marine litter.

Ouellette said that in addition to improving the condition of local landscapes, the cleanup is crucial for documenting the types of trash collected, where it could have come from and how long it would have taken to disintegrate.

Volunteers will be provided with data cards, but they are also encouraged to record information on the trash they pick up using the conservancy’s Clean Swell mobile app, from which they can view upto date information about what’s been collected.

“Anytime, anywhere they can see the impact they have had on making our creeks and oceans a cleaner and healthier ecosystem,” Ouellette said.

Last year, she said, a group of nearly 100 local volunteers removed around 380 pounds of trash, consisting mostly of food wrappers and other plastics.

Though the pandemic had a negative effect on volunteer turnout, the city estimates that, on average, 200 volunteers collect 800 pounds of trash each year.

Mayor Shawn Mulchay echoed the importance of participation.

“I know several of us (council members) have attended this event in the past, and it has been very rewarding,” he said. “There is plenty to clean up.”

To learn more about Coastal Cleanup Day events throughout the county, go to vccoastcleanup.org or ci.camarillo.ca.us/departments/ public_ works/_ coastal___ inland_ waterways_ cleanup_ day.php.

Makena Huey