Saturday, September 17, 2011

Coastal Cleanup

There are some great eco-focused groups in Laguna.  I try to support a variety of organizations, with time and donations, and today I took a few hours to help with the State-wide Coastal Cleanup effort.  In Laguna it was led by our local water quality expert and fellow Francophile, Roger Butow, second from right, in front of our landmark Hotel Laguna; Roger is our advocate for “fishable and swimmable water” through his coalition Clean Water Now!~


Coastal Cleanup Day is sponsored by the California Coastal Commission, and each year they mobilize teams of volunteers throughout the State to clean up beaches and inland waterways. 


I was an 8am earlybird as I had to drop off for the market in Corona del Mar by 9.  The beach was quiet at that time, under grey skies.  Sunny or grey, we love this, and we love this to be kept clean, please~


And then, along the Boardwalk, I ran into the ray of sunshine we know as Mai (far right), who is my neighbor and a local ball of energy…we love you Mai!  She had her team ready with buckets, and she held the leashes of Honey & Biscuit too while I snapped this pic~


Those of us who are fortunate to live by the beach know how the impact of plastic and other trash on the marine environment.  But really, it is all around us, on land, miles from the coast.  On the way back from Corona del Mar market, I saw lots of trash along Coast Highway at Crystal Cove north of Laguna.  Why don’t I notice this every day?  While I was part of the Laguna effort, I went back with a big bag and an extension picker and collected about 20 pounds of trash~


I picked up bottles, cups, pizza boxes; bags, packing materials, candy wrappers, gum wrappers.  A cell phone battery, a Ramada Inn plastic room key. A small Heineken keg, flattened.  Many items were related to our “fast food,” including cups and lids and straws; lots and lots of straws.  I will think before I accept another straw!  I picked up hundreds of other small pieces of plastic and styrofoam (peanuts, broken up coolers and other bits), Google maps, and several pages of someone’s bank statement(!)~


Hundreds of cigarette butts.  There used to be an ashtray in every car, but not any more.  The ashes and the butts go out the window.  My hand was tired of working the picker at the end of two hours~


The interesting thing was that most of the plastics I found were already heavily phyto-degraded.  That is, the sunlight had made them brittle, and unless I picked them up carefully, they broke apart into 20 other pieces.  The smaller the piece, in the ocean, the harder to reclaim, easier it is ingested by some creature.  PLEASE be mindful of your waste.  Maybe this stuff blows out the back of pickups.  Much of it gets discarded inland and washes to the beaches in the storm drain runoff.  In any case, it makes an impact.  Last year, on Coastal Cleanup Day, 82,000 volunteers State-wide collected over 1.2 million pounds of trash.   I am waiting to see how much was collected today, we had a small mountain at Main Beach by late morning. The dreaded soft drink lid, the king of phyto-degradation~


Today in Laguna we had four stations, and there were over 100 volunteers signed in at Main Beach.  There are others who collect but do not sign in.  I left about 200 of my cotton net bags to give to the volunteers at our station, and Roger said they went fast; next year I will get it together to donate in advance to all of the Laguna stations.  I love these beaches, the beaches I grew up with, and am so grateful to everyone around the State for your efforts today!! Special thanks to Roger & his team for their organization~


These UGS Elements bags are made of bamboo; also given away today, though it seems the net bags went first.

Here is to a cleaner coast!



  2. Andrea, so important for everyone to be cognizant of how just one piece of trash or little cigarette butt adds up so quickly!

    The beaches should be pristine for all to enjoy!

    Art by Karena

  3. Well done you!
    How can people be so disrespectful as to leave all that junk behind?!

  4. You go girl!!!
    I am always so very annoyed at
    people who litter ~ It is sad to
    see trash all over the beauty that
    we live in ~
    You are definitely blessed to live
    where you do ~ it is gorgeous!!


  5. Thank You! Sadly, I don't get to live near a beach but I have visited all my life. Also thank you for going back to the roadside and cleaning it up. Sad that it has to be done but thank goodness caring people like you are doing it!

  6. BRAVO Andrea!
    Your my hero! I even pick up peoples trash in our neighbor hood, amazing what people do with no regard for what they are creating.

    I have always admired the hard work that is done to clean up our beaches, your part of my amazement :)

    Thank you for this very message, maybe there is some hope for clean up and more to join in on making an effort to care a little.

    Thank you for your beautiful visit and the comment you left I treasure :)
    Have an inspiring week.