Plastic litter is the leading waste found on San Diego County beaches, say two environmental organizations that lead volunteer cleanup efforts.

More than 3,600 volunteers removed 5,000 pounds of trash from area beaches in 2008. Almost 80 percent of it was made of plastic, according to figures collected by San Diego Coastkeeper and the Surfrider Foundation’s San Diego chapter.

Among the interesting finds: A ski pole, fake teeth, a plastic dinosaur, a stove knob, ear muffs and Mr. Potato Head lips.

Though the numbers aren’t perfectly comparable — 800 more volunteers came out in 2008 than in the previous year — volunteers picked up:

  • 39,794 cigarette butts (up from 35,457 in 2007).
  • 2,975 plastic bags (up from 2,601).
  • 1,913 plastic bottles (down from 2,128).
  • 4,888 plastic lids, straws and cups (down from 8,825).
  • 599 six-pack holders (down from 647).
  • 12,216 pieces of Styrofoam (up from 9,917).
ROB DAVIS

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