Tens of thousands of volunteers throughout Southern California and the state showed up for California Coastal Cleanup Day on Saturday to spruce up the shore and inland parks, creeks, lakes and waterways before the winter season hits.

The annual effort, now in its 39th year, is the largest volunteer event in the state.

More than 40 cleanups were planned Saturday in Orange County – where typically more than 2,500 volunteers participate each year and haul away upward 10,000 pounds of trash in a single day.

One of the largest gatherings Saturday was at Huntington State Beach, an event put on by Orange County Coastkeeper, where hundreds of people spent the morning cleaning trash and debris from the sand.

Also read: How safe LA and Orange County beaches are in 2023, as graded by Heal the Bay

But coastal pollution is also washed to the shore from much farther inland, so several cleanups Saturday were held in channels and creeks elsewhere in the county, as far inland as Brea, La Habra, Silverado and Trabuco Canyon.

The annual effort is timed ahead of winter storms, a chance to capture the trash before it is washed to beaches and the ocean, where it harms wildlife and the marine environment.

Many of the coastal gatherings included educational opportunities to raise public awareness of marine and coastal resources and promote coastal stewardship throughout the state.

Since 1985, more than 1.7 million volunteers have helped remove more than 26 million pounds of trash from California’s beaches and inland shorelines. It’s also part of a larger, worldwide effort, the International Coastal Cleanup, which is organized by the Ocean Conservancy.

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