Sunday, October 25, 2009

10/24/09 - International Day of Climate Action - BBC Cleanup

Yesterday was the Internation Day of Climate Action. As part of this event, Siel from Green LA Girl and Sara from the Daily Ocean arranged a 20 minute Blogger Beach Clean-up, which is somewhat part of a large project that Sara has going on. Admittedly, my boyfriend and I did not take the most Climate friendly transportation to Santa Monica to join in, but it was the first time I had been out to Santa Monica since February and I was looking forward to meeting some people. I, as usual, had my camera on hand to tell my part of the story.

heading out to clean for 20 minutes!

I was surprised at the large number of cigarette butts scattered all over. It's like some people see the whole entire beach as a giant ashtray!

One of the two lifeguard towers that Sara focuses her clean efforts between.

Most of my recent clean-up efforts have been focused on the LA River or some of the areas near my home or places where I walk. I've learned that each place has the obvious trash as well as the trash that is possibly more harmful, yet easily missed. I quickly realized there were tiny bits of plastic all over the sand and that these wads of kelp and other sea stuff also contained hidden plastic bits within. This one had some white plastic ribbon stuff. Plastic stringy things are especially alarming as they easily become tangled around animals, especially the feet of birds. I see this all the time with pigeons, which sometimes eventually lose their toes, feet or lives due to infections. I really hope the shoes belonged to someone still at the beach because I left them behind.....

Another wad, this one with some black plastic straws mixed in with some little shreds of white plastic I soon realized were all over the beach and white fluffy stuff that looked like it came from a pillow or stuffed animal.

Remains of a day at the beach, thankfully with no accompanying plastic pieces left behind.

Heading back to the meeting area after the cleanup we walked past the bathrooms and realized there was once again a large "jackpot" of plastic pieces and more cigarettes

A peek into my bag at the end of the 20 minutes. Most everything was plastic or Styrofoam including wrappers, countless plastic straws and tiny shreds or broken pieces of plastic. Based on the difficulties myself and others had at trying to figure out if what we saw was a piece of shell, plastic or Styrofoam or if something was a straw or the shaft of a feather, I can easily see how animals are confused as well. It's saddening and frustrating to see what we've done and how small careless actions can really add up.

After our 20 minutes of cleaning, everyone got together to hear some people speak briefly, including a representative from Heal the Bay, CICLE, and Sara from the Daily Ocean, while enjoying some of the complimentary snacks and drinks.

The Heal the Bay representative and the trash the group managed to pick up in only 20 minutes.

Afterward we headed over to Pourtal for some drinks before I was seduced by the beauty of a sunset on the beach, something I don't often get a chance to see, but reminds you why consciousness of the problems and efforts to fix them are all worthwhile.

Thanks to Siel and Sara for putting together this cleanup event!

I think after all of these cleanup events I've realized that a couple things really need to happen. First, people need to become more aware of what types of things are passing through their hands and into the trash. There is no need to generate the amount of waste that we do. Theoretically, if everyone picked up as much trash as they intentionally or unintentionally dropped, there wouldn't be trash all over the place. Obviously that doesn't happen. I think some people also don't see the big picture or the cycle from the comfort of their cars and from their tv set. I think after many people reach this point, they also begin to realize that it's actually very difficult in some instances to work around this waste problem because the companies that sell the products that create this waste are not held accountable for the entire lifecycle of their products. What are all of these stupid tiny pieces of plastic? If every business that handed out straws for drinks had to make sure the straws ended up in the "right" place, I don't think they'd be so generous with the plastic tubes that might end up traveling to more destinations in their lifespan than the person that once placed their lips on them to sip their soda from a plastic cup.


Sara Bayles said...

thank you for coming to our cleanup and thanks for this great post!

NHB said...

Great blog about the day, and very cool pix! Would love to connect directly for next year's Coastal Cleanup Day to see if you want to participate/blog about that...

You can reach me at nburdick at healthebay dot org or