SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) — Nearly 1,000 students and volunteers spent Thursday morning cleaning up Mission Beach as part of Kids' Ocean Day - a statewide effort inspiring young people to protect the environment.
Students from all over San Diego picked up trash in an effort to keep local beaches clean and learn about how important it is to take care of our environment. For some of the kids, it was the first time they had ever been to Mission Beach.
"I think it’s very important to take care of our beaches because if you don’t then animals die, lot of things go away and one day the world may be broken," said fourth-grader Leah Naranjo of San Marcos Elementary School.
It was Leah's first time going to Mission Beach and she was among 700 kids from more than a dozen schools picking up litter along the shore from Mission Beach Park down to the jetty. All of the kids who participated are in grades 3rd through 5th. This annual event was put on by the group I Love A Clean San Diego and it’s been going on now for 20 years. It’s meant to raise awareness about how much trash ends up on our beaches and in our oceans.
Photo of annual Kids’ Ocean Day at Mission Beach courtesy of ILACSD.
ILACSD staff and volunteers led students on the large-scale beach and bay clean-up, collecting litter including cigarette butts, food wrappers, single-use plastics and more.
According to ILACSD, 8-million metric tons of plastic waste enter the world's oceans each year. It pollutes the water and hurts marine life. The group says the goal is to get kids in the habit of taking care of our planet now, so they continue to do so in the future.
San Diego's event was one of five occurring in cities across California.
Following the cleanup, students created an aerial art image that read "WAVES OF CHANGE." See below for Chopper 8's view of their work.