Ocean Pollution Prevention/Labor Day Holiday/Coastal Cleanup Day

county of san diego watershed protection program


Plastic Bottle at the Beach

You Can Prevent Ocean Pollution

Even though summer is coming to an end as we approach the Labor Day holiday, ocean pollution doesn’t! But good news – we can think of ocean pollution prevention as the beginning – the beginning of preserving our beautiful waterways for generations to come.

Ocean pollution is a serious problem and can affect both the health of beachgoers and aquatic life. Results from the 36th Annual Coastal Cleanup Day show that cigarette butts and plastic in all its forms were the top pollutants. Disposable personal protective equipment (face masks and gloves) also stood out as a new litter problem in 2020.

We can all easily prevent these items from ending up in our storm drains, and ultimately our waterways. Thankfully there are plenty of opportunities during the month of September to practice ocean pollution prevention.

  • Labor Day Holiday – Enjoy your holiday while helping to preserve our beautiful ocean by following these pollution-prevention tips:
    • Prevent pollutants from reaching the beach in the first place – When planning your day, replace single-use plastics with reusable products such as food containers, reusable water bottles, coolers (vs. Styrofoam), and tote bags (vs. plastic bags). Cut apart the plastic wrapping of your six-pack to make sure marine animals don’t get caught in the holes.
    • Contain your trash – Be sure to place any trash to be recycled, or food waste in a covered bin. Always double check packaging and make sure you dispose of it in the proper bin. Learn more about recycling through the County’s Recycle Right program.
    • Take care of others’ trash – If you spend your holiday at the beach, carry a trash bag and gloves and pick up trash along the way.
    • Be an ocean-friendly pet owner – Always clean up after pets and dispose of pet waste in the appropriate trash or pet waste bin. If pet waste is left to sit out, bacteria can wash into our storm drains and eventually the ocean where it can cause beach closures.
    • Boat responsibly – If your beach day includes boating, be a respectful kayaker, canoer, or boater by acknowledging the presence of marine life…and don’t throw anything overboard!
  • 37th Annual Coastal Cleanup Day – Participate in the County’s largest single-day environmental event on September 18th. This year the event will be hosted in a remote format, but you can choose your own cleanup location to pick up litter and debris in San Diego County anytime that day – whether that’s close to home or using the Hotspot Map (visit here and scroll down to the map). Thousands of small efforts will help prevent TONS of litter from entering our creeks, rivers, bays, and ocean!
  • Every Day Is Ocean Pollution Prevention Day – Because water is connected, everyday pollutants found in and around your home can make their way into our local waterways and storm drain system through stormwater runoff or outdoor watering practices. Common pollutants include household trash and green waste, pet waste, pesticides, fertilizers, and automotive fluids. Learn more about how to prevent these pollutants from leaving your property by visiting the County’s Educational Handouts webpage. Be on the lookout for storm drain pollution in your own community and neighborhood and report it.

Thank YOU, San Diego County residents, for all of your ongoing efforts at pollution prevention. Have a happy, safe, and pollution-free Labor Day Holiday!

Coastal Cleanup Day 2021


Find My District


Report Stormwater Pollution
Report observed pollution to the correct jurisdiction.

Citizen Access Portal
Research property information and permits. Apply for some permits online.

GIS Maps
Find property information including zoning designation with our web-based mapping tool. 

Watershed Protection Website


New Project Clean Water

Project Clean Water efforts are focused on providing a centralized point of access to water quality information and resources for San Diego County Watersheds. Click HERE to visit Project Clean Water’s website. 

To learn more about the County of San Diego - Watershed Protection Program, please visit sandiegocounty.gov/stormwater