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On September 16, just over 7,450 Orange County residents joined the global effort to get rid of trash, not wildlife. With 56 cleanup locations across Orange County, volunteers of all ages removed debris from parks, channels and beaches as a last line of defense to protect our ocean from trash pollution.

Overall, volunteers removed a record-breaking 70,202 pounds of trash in just three hours. That’s 14,000 pounds more than last year.

They found some unusual trash along the way, including 100 single socks, a wig, knives, parts from cars, a wheel chair, a flute and a fire pit.

After their hard work, volunteers celebrated with a Trash Free Jamboree at Huntington State Beach, the Back Bay Science Center and Doheny State Beach. At the Huntington Beach Jamboree, artist Katie Peck debuted her original sculpture “The Big Wave,” made entirely out of collected trash. With her piece, she hopes to raise awareness of how much the average person contributes to coastal pollution.

Our local cleanups were part of a worldwide event headed by the International Ocean Conservancy. Every year, we unite across the globe to harness human power to fight ocean trash. With research projecting there will be more pieces of trash in the ocean then fish by 2050, it’s more important than ever to educate the public on this issue.

We hope that this event inspired more people to do their part as stewards for the ocean. Help us continue this fight by joining us at the next community beach cleanup.