More than 11,000 citizens cleared 24,000 pounds of ocean-bound trash on Saturday during Heal the Bay’s 24th annual coastal cleanup day.
From 9 a.m. – noon and scouring 32 miles of coastland, volunteers traversed local beaches, inland waterways, regional parks and city neighborhoods of some 50 sites targeted for the effort by the Santa Monica-based environmental group Heal the Bay.
In Manhattan Beach, Mayor David Lesser found cigarette butts, polystyrene and wrappers comprised the largest amounts of debris.
Among the finds that had people scratching their heads Saturday was the discovery of five clay statues of the Hindu god Ganesh found throughout California, including a pair found near the Malibu Pier at Surfrider beach.
Other unusual objects included a beekeeper comb box (El Matador), a 35-pound car battery (Abalone Cove in Palos Verdes), a chaise lounge (Cabrillo State Beach in San Pedro), 120 pounds of carpeting (Dockweiler Beach), a remote surveillance video camera (Ken Malloy Park), an automobile fuel gauge (Leo Carrillo State Park) and a Bat Ray skeleton (Malibu Pier).
The most ironic item was a “No Swimming, Polluted Water” sign found underwater by SCUBA divers at Surfrider; the grossest item, a urine sample cup at Will Rogers Beach and the most Halloween-y item, glow-in-the dark vampire teeth in the Ballona Wetlands.
SCUBA dive teams canvassed under the Santa Monica, Malibu and Redondo Beach piers and off Long Beach, while a flotilla of kayakers removed trash from Marina del Rey.
Everyone from local businesses, scout troops, faith-based organizations and school groups worked in tandem to gather and remove cigarette butts, plastic bottles and caps, snack-food packaging, plastic bags and Styrofoam items.
“Thank you, Los Angeles for achieving another safe and successful Coastal Cleanup Day,” said Eveline Bravo, Heal the Bay’s beach programs manager in an official statement. “I am so grateful to the thousands of volunteers who came out to support the places they love, as volunteers make this entire event happen with their time and hard work.”
Heal the Bay’s Coastal Cleanup Day campaigns have captured a cumulative 1.6 million pounds of trash since 1990. As of last Saturday, the reported 24,000 pounds of trash found does not include bulky items that the city of Los Angeles will collect and weigh.