Cleanup Guidelines

Thank you for volunteering in our cleanups. Please follow these simple guidelines to avoid injury or distress when participating in our cleanups.

Beach Cleanups:

  1. Volunteers should wear a glove on the hand they are using to pick up trash.
  2. Volunteers should wear closed-toe shoes (no flip-flops or bare feet) at all times, and wear clothing and sun-block to protect from the sun.
  3. Don’t touch or pick up dead animals, or attempt to move injured animals. Instead, notify the Site Captain to make them aware of the animals and their location. The Site Captain will contact the responsible authorities.
  4. Volunteers should never pick up syringes, needles, or any hazardous objects. Mark the area and notify the Site Captain of the hazardous item’s location. Those items will need to be disposed of properly.
  5. Always stay together by working in teams of at least two.
  6. Be cautious and aware of sensitive habitat areas (i.e. wildlife, sand dunes).
  7. Be cautious of the ocean and aware of the tideline.  Keep a distance back from the tideline as waves can roll in with strong force that might be expected.
  8. Avoid over-exertion, sunburn, heat exhaustion and dehydration. When in doubt, return to the site’s check-in station before the end of the scheduled cleanup time.  Bring and drink water.
  9. All children under the age of 14 should be supervised by an adult or guardian at all times.
  10. Volunteers should not lift anything too heavy – when in doubt, don’t try! Always notify a Site Captain of this type of debris for further assistance.
  11. Do not go near any suspected hazardous materials (e.g., propane tanks, oil or chemical drums, etc.). If debris is spotted that a volunteer suspects to be hazardous or potentially hazardous, the debris should be left untouched and the site should be immediately informed. The local fire/hazmat department, environmental health agency or the Coast Guard National Response Center (800-424-8802) should be notified and respond as appropriate. While it is highly unlikely that marine debris will be radioactive and hazardous, and although marine debris items such as drums or chemical canisters are uncommon, it is important that marine debris that is suspected as being hazardous be assessed and removed by trained professionals who can ensure the public’s safety.

Japanese Tsunami Marine Debris Cleanups:
In addition to above guidelines on participating in a beach cleanup, if you are attending a Japanese Tsunami Marine Debris cleanup, please also:
1.  Review NOAA’s Japanese Tsunami Marine Debris Cleanup Guidelines, Tsunami Debris on California’s North Coast which provides specific instructions by type of potential tsunami debris provided by the California Coastal Commission.
2. Read our Tsunami Cleanup FAQs.
3. We recommend you read more about the Japanese Tsunami Marine Debris Cleanup Program provided by the program’s lead agencies – the California Coastal Commission, as well as the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration’s Tsunami Marine Debris website.
4. Download this handy Tsunami Debris Field Guide and bring with you to use as an on-site reference while participating in the cleanup.

Green Team, Roberts Road Team & Neighborhood Cleanups:

  1. Volunteers should wear a sturdy working glove on the hand they are using to pick up trash.
  2. Volunteers should wear closed-toe shoes such as sturdy work boots (no flip-flops or bare feet) at all times, and wear clothing and sun-block to protect from the sun.
  3. Don’t touch or pick up dead animals, or attempt to move injured animals. Instead, notify the Site Captain to make them aware of the animals and location. The Site Captain will contact the responsible authorities.
  4. Volunteers should never pick up syringes, needles, or any hazardous objects. Mark the area and notify the Site Captain of the hazardous item’s location. Those items will need to be disposed of properly.
  5. Always stay together by working in teams of at least two.
  6. Be cautious and aware of sensitive habitat areas (i.e. wildlife, native plant and vegetation).
  7. Be cautious of moving vehicles when working on streets, parking lots, gutters, curbs, storm drains and sidewalks.
  8. Avoid over-exertion, sunburn, heat exhaustion, and dehydration. When in doubt, return to the site’s check-in station before the end of the scheduled cleanup time. Bring and drink water.
  9. All children under the age of 14 should be supervised by an adult or guardian at all times.
  10. Volunteers should not lift anything too heavy – when in doubt, don’t try! Always notify a Site Captain of this type of debris for further assistance.
  11. Do not go near any suspected hazardous materials (e.g., propane tanks, oil or chemical drums, etc.). If debris is spotted that a volunteer suspects to be hazardous or potentially hazardous, the debris should be left untouched and the site should be immediately informed. The local fire/hazmat department, or environmental health agency should be notified and respond as appropriate. It is important that debris suspected as hazardous is assessed and removed by trained professionals who can ensure the public’s safety.

Creek Cleanups:
Cleaning up a creek has its special considerations with regards to everyone’s safety including that of wildlife. When cleaning up a creek area, be mindful you are in wildlife habitat. Think safety first. Overhanging branches, slippery surfaces, poison oak, thorny plants and ticks are just a few of the hazards along a creek’s riparian corridor.

  1. Wear appropriate footgear and clothing to protect you from the weather, sun, bugs, ticks and scratches from thorny unfriendly plants and vegetation. We suggest long pants and sleeves. Don’t wear shorts, sleeveless shirts, or sandals. Tuck pants into socks or boots, and shirts into pants. Light-colored clothing makes it easier to see ticks before they attach to the skin.
  2. Work with a partner and never alone under any circumstances.
  3. Be mindful of wildlife. Injured wildlife may bite or claw if handled. Don’t touch or pick up dead animals, or attempt to move injured animals. Instead, notify the Site Captain to make them aware of the animals and location. The Site Captain will contact the responsible authorities.
  4. Watch out for loose stones, roots, branches and other obstacles when walking in creek areas.
  5. Wet rocks, grass, and mud can be slippery. Be especially careful while going up or down a slope.
  6. Poison oak commonly grows along creeks. Learn what it looks like and avoid it. Even poison oak without leaves (or in its dormant stage during the winter months) can cause a skin reaction.
  7. Wear insect repellents that work for mosquitoes –  they are effective against ticks. Look for formulas containing DEET; apply according to the label instructions only. Insect-repellent clothing is also available. Children should not apply concentrations of DEET higher than 10%.
  8. Check for ticks – they can transmit Lymes disease. If a tick is found, notify your site captain and the San Mateo County Mosquito and Vector Control District online, or by phone at (650) 344-8592 for testing.  Note: The whole tick which has bitten a human should be submitted as soon as possible. Read more information about protecting yourself from ticks here.
  9. Maintain a safe distance from creeks during high water. Flowing water is extremely powerful and dangerous!
  10. Do not enter culverts or storm drain pipes.
  11. Wear sturdy work gloves when picking up trash and debris.
  12. Do not handle items that might be a health hazard such as needles, gasoline containers, or sharp or rusty metal.
  13. Do not attempt to lift or remove heavy objects such as tires or shopping carts. Contact the Site Captain for further instructions.
  14. If you come across a homeless encampment, do not disturb the area, and notify the Site captain immediately.
  15. Report any hazardous or unsafe conditions observed, or an injury to the site captain immediately.

 



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