Cleaning Santa Cruz-area beaches a monthly chore for Save Our Shores



Cleaning Santa Cruz-area beaches a monthly chore for Save Our Shores

Posted:   02/18/2012 04:53:11 PM PST
Shannon Dooley and Melinda Highton came from San Carlos to help with… (BILL LOVEJOY/SENTINEL)

SANTA CRUZ – Santa Cruz resident Mike Houck filled a plastic bag with old beer bottles, chunks of painted wood, bits of Styrofoam, a couple of syringes and lots of cigarette butts by strolling up and down Seabright State Beach for an hour on Saturday.

He was among the nearly 150 people who combed the beach for trash as part of Save Our Shores monthly beach cleanup. The cleanups take place on the third Saturday of every month from 10 a.m. to noon in Santa Cruz County.

“I’m a surfer, and I love the beach,” Houck, 40, said. “I want it to be clean for the community. I just do it so I lead by example.”

Save Our Shores, a nonprofit dedicated to taking care of Monterey Bay and its wildlife, removes an average of 38,000 pounds of pollution from beaches and waterways each year.

Organizers say the cleanups are a good way to educate the community about the detrimental impact on the environment that can come from plastic bags, soda cans and other trash left on the beach.

They hope to inspire beachgoers to pack non-plastic food and drink containers that can be reused.

“We’d like people to bring their own cups so they’re not generating stuff that ends up on the beach,” said Martel Anderson, a Save Our Shores board member. “We find a lot of plastic grocery bags, which gets tangled or ingested by marine life. It’s pretty much a death sentence at that point.”

About 20 students from Homestead High School in Cupertino participated in Saturday’s cleanup to help fulfill their school’s community service requirement.

Senior Abha Gokhale, 17, considers herself a staunch steward of the enviroment.

“Especially after the BP oil spill…


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