Beaches Have a Trashy Reputation That's Losing Orange County Millions: Government Study

Categories: Environment

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Scenes from Orange County beaches

Trash on Orange County beaches is losing locals millions and millions of dollars every summer, according to government research.

John Metcalfe has the scoop--a double-fisted one full of cigarette butts, we'd imagine--for
The Atlantic CityLife.

He focuses on a new economic report about Orange County by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. For those playing it home, a different NOAA report essentially stopped the 241 toll road from being extended to Trestles beach.

The study from NOAA's Marine Debris Program and consulting firm Industrial Economics had 1,500 people interviewed by phone about the places they visit for brief or weekend getaways. Concerns about water quality and washed-up debris like plastic and industrial lumber left folks feeling the sand and water are polluted, so they willingly drive farther to avoid OC beaches, according to the study. That's costing us bucko bucks, people!

The researchers recommend Orange County hold more beach cleanups. From the sounds of it, volunteers in bathing suits should be joined by others in business suits: NOAA suggests if the amount of trash on our beaches was cut in half, OC residents would save up to $67 million in the summertime alone.

A chart on OC's savings potential that accompanied the NOAA study follows on the next page ...

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That chart should factor in the costs to governments for attracting more people who will visit OC beaches. If $148 million in spending is generated by having beach litter reduced by 100% then more money will have to go to the police to deal with disturbances and traffic patrol.

Maybe having dirty beaches will cut down on the number of rioters at the next Huntington surf meet. I admit that's a bit far-fetched but it's pause for thought.


When I was a kid, they had trucks drag big fence/kitty litter scooper looking things, and HB and Newport were almost always clean.

Now, you can't even have a fire pit because they don't have the money to clean.

Despite increased taxes, tobacco taxes, the lotto which was supposed to be a boon.

California hasn't seen it's rock bottom yet, but it's coming.

Jon Wolslau
Jon Wolslau

Tsunami trash n the pacific trash pile doesnt help either

Valerie Dickson
Valerie Dickson

I agree with you so much!! It's disgusting if everyone can pick up after them selves it would great for everyone... And not just beaches... Everywhere

Eric Malcolm Dickson
Eric Malcolm Dickson

I,m an avid o.c.beach guy.I,m in balboa,newport,huntington every week walking the beaches.littering is out of control everywhere.I constantly pick up other peoples trash and witness people not one will do it for you.everyone must pitch in and save our environment. times running out and mother nature is pissed off

Sarah Melton
Sarah Melton

OC beaches are the worst! Can't you pay some ex-con to grade them daily? They haven't been raked in years. San Diego beaches and LA beaches are actually maintained on a regular's disappointing

Alexander Puzo
Alexander Puzo

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I pick up trash off the beach all the time.  Why do raza trash out any beach they go to?  It happens everywhere.


I frequent the beach's a lot. What I see is disgusting. People have no respect to clean up after they visit. Mostly teens followed by families. I suggest placing additional trash containers every 20 yards with KEEP OUR BEACH TRASH FREE. Containers can be sponsored by Corporate Ads whose product consumers bring with them. 

Brainwashed_in_church topcommenter

There's plenty of free labor sitting in the jails. They could be picking up trash, picking crops, cleaning buses, cleaning sidewalks, painting, clearing brush, etc. The technology exists to make this feasible and secure.

20ftjesus topcommenter

Do you plan to do your part?

fishingblues topcommenter

If this is spam, you are a moron for believing it will work and you as well as Lalude are pathetic losers.

If this is real, only morons bare their souls on a public forum and you are a pathetic loser.

If you think your old lady won't do it again, you are a pathetic loser. 

If you don't see the pattern here,  guess what you are?  

whateveryousay topcommenter

So, when your wife was done with her fling you were pathetic enough to take her and sloppy seconds back.

You are a pathetic man.


@downtownbrown True, i'm mexican and it embarrases me how we have this reputation for not picking up our shit afterwards. Parks, beaches, you name it, if there's mexicans, there's usually trash everywhere. It's like, how hard is it to bring a few bags and put your trash in it.

MatthewTCoker topcommenter

@Whophantom If we turned the fire rings into trash receptacles (like they aren't already), would the AQMD leave us alone?


@Brainwashed_in_church I get maintenance/clean up performing tasks government is already responsible for but picking crops? Are you seriously advocating forced labor in support of commercial interests?


@whateveryousay @RocketJ @Brainwashed_in_church Where are prisoners volunteering to work for  for-profit entities for no wages or compensation? It is illegal to sell goods in the USA made by unpaid prisoners in US facilities. It is legal to sell these products overseas but even if not receiving wages prisoners receive better treatment (privileges, good behavior credits) or avoid worse treatment (reduced or loss of yard time, solitary).

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