SAN DIEGO -- Volunteers picked up 3,916 pounds of trash from San Diego County beaches Friday morning after this year's Fourth of July celebrations.
The amount is nearly double what was picked up after last year's celebrations, due to an increase in volunteer participation.
Surfrider Foundation, I Love a Clean San Diego and other groups organized the annual cleanup that brought nearly 800 volunteers to pick up trash at Ocean Beach Pier, Ocean Beach Dog Park, Mission Beach, Pacific Beach and Oceanside Pier.
“It’s really disappointing to see the beaches that we all visit on the weekends kind of get destroyed after the Fourth of July," one volunteer told FOX 5.
"This is a death sentence for marine life," said Len Hering, executive director of I Love a Clean San Diego.
Hering said some of the smallest pieces of trash, like bottle caps and cigarettes, can have the greatest impact on marine animals. "Unfortunately they can’t digest it, so it fills up their stomach and the poor creature dies of starvation," Hering said.
Hering encouraged beach-goers to bring reusable items to the beach to protect the environment and keep the beaches clean. “Let’s come to the beach and the only thing we leave is our footprints," Hering said.
The next I Love A Clean San Diego cleanup is scheduled for Saturday, July 6, at Hilton Head County Park in El Cajon from 8 to 10 a.m.