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General Press Releases

Port of San Diego and San Diego Working Waterfront Invite Public to Join 33rd Annual Operation Clean Sweep

Contacts: Irene McCormack C: 619.991.0119 or Josh Kellems C: 619.642.1153

The San Diego Working Waterfront and the Port of San Diego invite the public to participate in the 33rd annual Operation Clean Sweep on Saturday, August 26, 2023, from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Following the event, an afterparty will be held for all volunteers at Cesar Chavez Park until noon. 

Volunteers are invited to participate by selecting from a variety of locations around San Diego Bay or choosing an area in their own community to clean. Picking up trash throughout the county helps keep the bay clean because every piece of trash that is not disposed of properly runs the risk of ending up in the bay. Participants are encouraged to invite friends and family members to join in and bring their own bags, gloves and sunscreen. 

Anyone interested in volunteering can learn more and register at Participants will also be able to select a location, provide the number of volunteers in their group, and submit t-shirt requests. 

“Operation Clean Sweep is one of the most impactful environmental cleanups, not just for San Diego Bay and its shorelines, but the entire region,” said Chairman Rafael Castellanos, Port of San Diego Board of Port Commissioners. “The continuous hard work of our Port tenants and community volunteers over the years has resulted in a beautiful and healthy San Diego Bay for all communities to enjoy. The Port thanks the San Diego Working Waterfront and all the volunteers who give generously of their time and resources for the preservation of our beautiful bay and tidelands.”

This is the first year since the pandemic that Operation Clean Sweep is expecting upwards of 1,200 volunteers and the San Diego Working Waterfront is providing an afterparty for those who can attend. During the pandemic, volunteers were limited although trash was picked up from around the bay each year. 

“You can’t believe what you’ll find along the shoreline and under the water in the bay,” said San Diego Working Waterfront President Sharon Cloward, who has overseen the event for 20 years. “We are so grateful to the volunteers – many of whom work at the businesses that operate around the bay – for coming out and cleaning up. The members of the San Diego Working Waterfront are dedicated to a clean and healthy bay. We care deeply because it’s a benefit for everyone who lives, works, and visits the San Diego region.”

In 2019, nearly one thousand volunteers removed 20,000 tons of trash and debris from San Diego Bay and the surrounding waterfront, including dozens of shopping carts, discarded bicycles, mattresses, household appliances, tires and other items, many of which were recovered underwater by volunteer civilian, military, and Port of San Diego Harbor Police divers.

Operation Clean Sweep is sponsored by the San Diego Working Waterfront, the Port of San Diego, San Diego Gas & Electric, Republic Services, General Dynamics NASSCO, Marine Group Boat Works, the United States Coast Guard, the United States Navy, and over 50 Port tenant businesses. 

About THE Port of San Diego

The Port of San Diego serves the people of California as a specially created district, balancing multiple uses on 34 miles along San Diego Bay spanning five cities. Collecting no tax dollars, the Port manages a diverse portfolio to generate revenues that support vital public services and amenities.

The Port champions Maritime, Waterfront Development, Public Safety, Experiences and Environment, all focused on enriching the relationship people and businesses have with our dynamic waterfront. From cargo and cruise terminals to hotels and restaurants, from marinas to museums, from 22 public parks to countless events, the Port contributes to the region’s prosperity and remarkable way of life on a daily basis.


Port of San Diego Environment champions the safekeeping and environmental care of our diverse ecosystems. Year after year, environmental goals are set and measured to evolve environmental initiatives – ensuring San Diego Bay remains a vibrant resource and contributes to a remarkable way of life for visitors and residents for generations to come.