SANTA CRUZ, Calif. -

Volunteers from all over made their way to Main and Cowell Beaches Saturday and it was not all about the waves. They were there to pick up trash.

"You should pick it up and take care of God's world," said volunteer Nico Amaya.

The environmental stewardship was inspired by the California Coastal Cleanup Day organized by Save Our Shores.

"The goal is when the first rains come, which we hope will happen, all this stuff does not flush out into the ocean," said Melanie Franklin with Save Our Shores.

Litter washing into the ocean could lead to fatal consequences for marine life.

"The first thing that will happen is that it will be eaten by an animal,” said Franklin. “Once these animals get full of plastic, which 90% of what we find is plastic, they feel like they're full. They continue to eat that, they stop eating, and die because they've starved."

During the three hour event volunteers collected cigarette butts, plastic, food wrappers and other plastic pollution.

"It's just a nice opportunity to help out the community,” said volunteer Grace Brock. “It just makes me really disappointed that people, they’re lazy enough not to pick up their own trash."

Organizers said for the past 31 years of the event, more than 20 million pounds of trash has been picked up in California. While that’s a huge benefit to marine animals, locals and the environment, it also creates awareness.

"People want to do good,” said Franklin. “They want to do things but sometimes it’s hard to make the time or take the time. But when you kind of see something like this it changes you. It changes what you want to do as far as getting involved."

Save Our Shores said they will host monthly beach clean ups this winter.