Beach cleanups are volunteer activities that take place on a regular basis along coastlines around the world. Environmental groups, civic organizations and individual beachgoers collect beach trash to make the beach a nicer, safer place and also to improve the coastal and ocean ecosystem.
Surfrider Foundation chapters have been organizing and conducting beach cleanups on a regular basis for over 20 years. The cleanups have two goals - 1) a clean beach and 2) changing human behavior and creating a "beach ethic" so that beach cleanups eventually become unnecessary. Materials collected at these cleanups range from a distressing number of cigarette butts and small pieces of plastic to plastic bottles and bags to fishing nets. We attempt to separate recyclable material from trash and we also encourage participants to bring their own bags, buckets and gloves to make the events as "green" as possible.
A few examples of our many chapters from around the country that have regular beach cleanup programs include San Diego County, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, in Oregon (Chevelle, foam), Vancouver Island Canada, Kauai, Maui, Rhode Island, Virginia Beach and Central Texas. No special training is required and you don't even have to be a Surfrider member to participate. So contact your local Surfrider chapter and get involved!
Here's a great video on beach cleanups from our San Diego County chapter:
This is a video of the Chevelle debris cleanup in Oregon that is linked above.
Here's an example of an "extreme beach cleanup" by our Vancouver Island chapter. This is part of their Combing the Coast program.
Not to be outdone, Surfrider folks in Washington did a Cape Flattery beach cleanup with the aid of a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter!