On Sept. 15, thousands of Orange County residents will make their favorite beaches sparkle for the world’s largest trash cleanup event: Coastal Cleanup Day. Registration is now open for more than 40 cleanup sites across Orange County, organized by Orange County Coastkeeper and Trails4All.

Dana Point’s Coastal Cleanup Day will take place at the Ocean Institute, Salt Creek Beach and Doheny State Beach.

Orange County beaches and waterways collect trash that travels from inland communities via the county rivers and storm drains. Beach cleanups stand as a last line of defense to prevent this debris from polluting the ocean and its wildlife. Orange County’s cleanup sites are part of California Coastal Cleanup Day, which is organized by the California Coastal Commission. This statewide event is part of the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup, the largest volunteer event on the planet.

Last year, more than 7,000 Orange County volunteers collected a record-breaking 70,485 pounds of trash and recyclable materials during the three-hour event. Some of the most obscure findings included wigs, a flute, car parts and more.

“Most people are unaware that nearly 80 percent of trash found on beaches comes from inland sources,” says Patrick Irizarry, Orange County Coastkeeper’s volunteer coordinator. “At Coastal Cleanup Day, thousands of residents will get an up-close look at how everyday trash impacts our environment.”

Attendance is free and supplies will be provided. Organizers ask that volunteers bring their own cleanup supplies to reduce waste, including a bucket or reusable bag, gloves and reusable water bottle.

Residents have an additional opportunity to protect clean water leading up to Coastal Cleanup Day. On Saturday, Sept. 8, all Orange County Chipotle Mexican Grill locations will donate 50 percent of fundraiser sales to Orange County Coastkeeper when customers mention the clean water advocacy group to the cashier. To register for Coastal Cleanup Day in Dana Point, visit www.coastkeeper.com.

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