SAN FRANCISCO — As beach season comes to end, new research shows that California communities are spending nearly half a billion dollars annually in preventing trash from polluting the state’s beaches, rivers, and ocean, according to a report released by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). In a time when California cities are experiencing tight budgets, NRDC’s report demonstrates the economic burden this waste creates for local governments and taxpayers, and makes the compelling case for immediate action for measures that reduce this pollution.

“Trash that pollutes our streets, beaches and waterways, costs local governments and California taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars every year,” said Leila Monroe, senior attorney in the oceans program at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “That’s money down the drain that could otherwise be invested in schools, firefighters, police, or improving public parks and other open spaces.”

The report, “Waste in our Water: The Annual Cost to California Communities of Reducing Litter that Pollutes our Waterways,” surveyed 95 California communities ranging in size from just over 700 residents to over 4 million. The analysis found that, regardless of their size and distance from the ocean, these communities are collectively spending nearly $500 million dollars annually cleaning up litter and preventing it from entering waterways. The report examined the cost of six activities related to reducing solid waste in waterways: river and beach clean-up; street sweeping; installation of stormwater capture devices; stormwater drain cleaning and maintenance; manual cleanup of litter; and public education.

Based on the research, these communities rank among the Top-10 California cities or towns spending the most on activities related to reducing the amount of waste reaching our waterways:

1. Los Angeles — $36.3 million
2. San Diego — $14.1 million
3. Long Beach — $12.9 million
4. San Jose — $8.8 million
5. Oakland — $8.3 million
6. Sacramento — $2.8 million
7. Hayward — $2.3 million
8. Merced — $2.3 million
9. Redondo Beach — $2.1 million
10. South Gate — $1.7 million

Download the full report at