Morning After Mess, post-July 4 cleanup, nets plastic waste on Moonlight Beach

Yevette Beltran
Yevette Beltran, program director for Un Mar de Colores, the organization that led Surfrider’s cleanup effort at Moonlight Beach.
(Mario Ordoñez-Calderon)

Few holidays generate more trash on San Diego County beaches than the Fourth of July. Each year, the San Diego County chapter of the Surfrider Foundation and its partners host the “Morning After Mess” cleanup series to help tackle the mess.

This year volunteers gathered at five sites throughout the county, from Imperial Beach to Moonlight Beach and up to Oceanside. In only three hours, volunteers recovered more than 2,832 pounds of trash ⁠— mainly consisting of single-use plastics ⁠that otherwise would have been washed into the sea.

The Moonlight Beach cleanup was hosted by Un Mar De Colores, a nonprofit that provides ocean stewardship, surf therapy, environmental education and mentorship for underserved youth.

In Encinitas, they collected 73 pounds of trash.

“Many of our volunteers remarked that the beaches seemed cleaner than in previous years, which is a great sign that we are headed in the right direction together! Despite that, we can’t lose sight of the fact that even one piece of trash on the beach is too many,” said Alex Ferron, Surfrider Foundation San Diego Chapter manager in a news release. “More than anything, we hope our beach cleanups inspire San Diegans to continue down the path of coastal stewardship and environmental activism.”

A collection of trash from Moonlight Beach.
(Mario Ordoñez-Calderon)