When David Benson moved to Santa Monica three weeks ago and began walking its beaches, he wasn't pleased with litter-strewn shores.
Not content to just complain, Benson on Saturday will be one of 8,000 volunteers expected to pick up trash at Los Angeles County beaches, marshes, creeks and parks as part of the 12th annual Coastal Cleanup Day.
Each year trash collected during the cleanup is tallied and weighed to help identify what causes the most beach pollution. Cigarette butts and plastic foam typically weigh in as the heaviest offenders.
"[There are] a lot of people just throwing things on the beach," said Marilyn Kronmal, county cleanup co-chairwoman and a Santa Monica city employee. "We get pieces of glass, newspapers, oil cans."
Along with giving beaches a clean sweep, organizers hope the effort also shows volunteers that litter doesn't always originate with beach-goers.
"We want people to become aware that if they drop a piece of paper in the county, it can sail down to the beach through the storm drains," Kronmal said.
This year, volunteers in boats will clean up the mouth of Ballona Creek and the Marina Channel. A bus load of elementary school students from Sun Valley is scheduled to clean up Ballona Lagoon.
The campaign, coordinated locally by Heal the Bay and the city of Santa Monica, uses volunteer "beach captains" to organize cleanups at assigned beaches. The cleanup is scheduled from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday. Volunteers should wear sturdy shoes. Most sites will supply gloves, trash bags and drinking water. For other gathering sites and information call: 1-800-HEAL BAY, or (310) 458-8300, city of Santa Monica.