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Cleanup Day

Cleanup Day volunteers rid the Richmond shoreline of bags, bottles and other debris

on September 17, 2022

Bright and early, in the Saturday morning chill, roughly a dozen Boy Scouts  arrived at Shimada Friendship Park ready to clear the Richmond shoreline of washed up trash.

They eagerly raced up and down the trail, competing to see who could retrieve the most unusual waste lodged in the rocks. Each scout filled buckets with disposable masks, Styrofoam, miscellaneous plastics, water bottles, straws, plastic hangers, and driftwood.

The Boy Scouts joined Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia and dozens of other volunteers for the 32nd annual Coastal Cleanup Day, co-hosted by the city of Richmond and The Watershed Project. The Richmond event was part of a statewide campaign in communities along California’s coast and coincided with World Cleanup Day, an international effort to address the global waste  problem. 

Cleanup Day
Dozens of volunteers pitched in to clean up the shoreline at Shimada Friendship Park. (George Alfaro)

The event fosters environmental stewardship in the next generation, a step in building a sustainable world.

“Raising awareness and providing education helps people think twice about the trash they throw away,” said Jeanine Strickland, with The Watershed Project, an organization that protects the Bay Area’s rivers and streams. “Kids get a lot of information about climate change and all these horrible things, so it’s great to show them that there is something positive that they can do.”

For the past two years, Cleanup Day was limited in size and scope due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Residents were encouraged to spruce up their neighborhoods in lieu of gathering  along the Richmond shoreline.

Cleanup Day
Maggie Chen from The Watershed Project teaches about water runoff. (George Alfaro

“Prior to the pandemic, it was larger. We would get hundreds of people,” Gioia said, noting that  one year about 700 people participated. With the pandemic lingering, turnout this year was  smaller. Around 50 community members trickled in as the day warmed up. And all were eager to pitch in. 

“I’m just happy to see it going on,” said volunteer Randall Henderson,

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