The COVID-19 pandemic canceled last year’s in-person Coastal Cleanup Day at Lodi Lake, but the event’s absence did not deter more than 100 Lodians from signing up for its return last weekend.
Kathy Grant, the City of Lodi’s Watershed Program Coordinator, said 135 volunteers arrived at Lodi Lake last Saturday for the 18th Annual Lodi Lake Coastal Cleanup.
Between 9 a.m. and noon, volunteers formed 10 groups and combed all 114 areas of the lake. Volunteers included students from Tokay High and Joe Serna schools.
The Starbucks on Ham Lane sent coffee over, and even had some of its employees help out with trash collection, Grant said.
They ended up collecting 166 pounds of trash and debris in 40 bags, she said, of which 108 pounds consisted of light-weight plastic waste that would be headed for the landfill.
The remaining 58 pounds was recyclable material, she said.
Each year there is typically one unusual item found during the cleanup, but this year Grant said there were several, including a 10k gold chain and eight collector comic books.
Also found was an old pair of jumper cables, a paintball canister, a nail clipper, a toy tractor, underwear, six unmatched shoes, one plastic finger puppet, a bus ticket, an inhaler, a bottle of candy, and a heating device.
In addition, 1,284 cigarette butts were collected, topping the 2019 total of 1,188.
“It was an orderly event with no problems at all,” Grant said. “The weather was perfect, it wasn’t hot. Most of the volunteers were students there for extra credit. It’s really the school and teachers that make this event successful.”
San Joaquin County Public Works’ Water Resources Division coordinated the event, managing a total of eight sites throughout the county.
A total of 304 volunteers collected 3,033 pounds of trash in 260 bags along 16 miles of land. Another 325 pounds of debris was recyclable, according to the county.
The most unusual items found at other locations included the hood of a car, a tricycle, a car windshield, a car door and a gaming console, the county said.
Statewide, 20,029 volunteers picked up 153,281 pounds of trash and an additional 9,256 pounds of recyclable materials.
Unusual items found across California included a fart noise machine in Bishop, stiletto heels and a Motel 6 key found in Ventura County, and a gender reveal firework found in Mendocino County
Eben Schwartz, the Marine Debris Program Manager for the California Coastal Commission, said the most unusual item found this year was a a full-size model of an alligator head in Berkeley.
The City of Lodi participates in the Coastal Cleanup and other cleanup events as part of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit requirements.
“Even with a hybrid model in place, Coastal Cleanup Day 2021 was a great success,” San Joaquin County Event Coordinator Kristy Smith said in a Wednesday media statement.