Thousands bag trash for coastal cleanup

Volunteers turned out by the thousands this weekend to help clean up the Bay Area’s beaches as part of the 30th annual California Coastal Cleanup Day.

More than 2,500 volunteers turned out in at beaches and inland waterways in Santa Cruz County on Saturday to help remove over 12,000 pounds of waste, according to ocean advocacy group Save Our Shores.

Another 1,300 volunteers turned up in Monterey County to remove 9,920 pounds of waste from waterways, the group reported.

With 75 percent of cleanup sites reporting, the California Coastal Commission reports that 54,124 volunteers participated in the event statewide, and cleaned up a total of more than 686,000 pounds of trash.

Some of the strangest items that volunteers discovered included a polar bear costume found in Ventura County, a Christmas tree with 15 antifreeze containers in Ben Lomond, and a 20 pound bag of old bread rolls in Monterey, authorities reported.

Save Our Shores is holding a photo contest open to participants in the cleanup event.

Prizes will be awarded on Monday for the strangest and largest items, respectively, and for the volunteer with the best Cleanup Day flair.

Photos can be emailed to media@saveourshores.org or posted on social media sites using the hashtag #SaveOurShores.