San Diego Coastkeeper and SeaWorld Team Up to Keep Mission Bay Beautiful | Don't Miss Clean the Bay Day on Oct. 26

October 9, 2013

San Diego Coastkeeper and SeaWorld are teaming up to keep Mission Bay beautiful with the 2nd annual Mission Possible: Clean the Bay Day on Saturday, Oct. 26. Participants can bring their boat, kayak or paddleboard to join the on-water effort, either on their own or as a team with family, friends or coworkers. Those who cannot participate on the water can join the shoreline cleanup. Organizers will award prizes, including yearlong passes to SeaWorld, beluga interactions, penguin tours and more. The cleanup will take place on Mission Bay from 8-11am. Food from Rubio’s, prizes and fun will complement the cleanup throughout the morning at Rose Marie Starns South Shores Park. 

Last year’s inaugural event saw 150 volunteers clear about 450 pounds of trash in one day, including items like a DVD, an engine pump, firework debris, a can of foam cleaner and a street sign. Because of the type and amount of trash recovered at the initial event, SeaWorld added additional days of water and beach sweeps to its post-firework cleanup program in the bay.

In 2012, volunteers with San Diego Coastkeeper removed 1,000 pounds of debris during cleanups hosted at beaches on Mission Bay and nearby Mission Beach. Most of these were buoyant items, including plastic foam and plastic particles, bags, wrappers and straws that impair water quality and degrade coastal habitats, and also harm wildlife through entanglement or ingestion. While volunteers collected these items on the shoreline, the presence of debris extends into the water as well. Sitting at the base of the San Diego Watershed, water from inland creeks, streams, rivers, and rain events flows into Mission Bay on its way to the Pacific Ocean. Water transports trash left on the ground or accidentally blown out of trash bins through our watershed into our coastal waters.

SeaWorld has caused controversy in recent years for contributing to the bay's pollution through it's frequent firework shows throughout the summer months and on special occasions. The pollution is not only caused by the firework debris, but hypothetically, also by the swarms of viewers that the shows attract. SeaWorld reportedly even halted its firework show in 2006 to avoid a lawsuit from Coastkeeper. SeaWorld is since under waste discharge requirements that allow Sea World to continue up to 150 fireworks shows annually, with specific protections to ensure dangerous chemicals that might fall into Mission Bay do not harm the public or environment.

SeaWorld’s rescue team sees first-hand the effects of marine debris because they care for animals that become entangled or ingest the items. Every year, SeaWorld rescues an average of 150 marine mammals, many of them affected by debris or pollution, such as fishing line and gear, oil spills and general debris such as plastic bags and other trash items. Debris also affects sea birds, especially pelicans. In 2013 so far, SeaWorld has rescued and cared for more than 400 marine mammals and hundreds of brown pelicans and other marine birds, many of which were injured or ill because of marine debris.

For more information on the Mission Possible: Clean the Bay Day, visit