SaMoHi Joins Coastal Cleanup Day 2016
By Katie Osaki; Santa Monica High School’s Heal the Bay Club
On Sept. 17, our club participated in the Coastal Cleanup Day at the Santa Monica Pier location. We were part of an international effort organized by the Ocean Conservancy in which 90 countries participate and over 600,000 volunteers come out to clean the coast. Here in LA County, Heal the Bay oversees 50 coastal and inland sites where 10,000 people collected 30,000 pounds of trash!
When we first got to the pier, we were welcomed with bright smiles and high hopes for the amount of work we could get done over the course of the morning. Next we went through a massive line of participants to get our buckets and gloves. Afterwards, we set out to collect trash. At first it took us a while to find stuff, but of the things we found in the first hour, were pieces of styrofoam, plastic cups, and cigarette butts. Once the first hour had passed, we found ourselves on a small boardwalk that was a treasure trove of trash, specifically cigarette butts. Before the boardwalk, we had only collected 10 butts, by the end we had 165! Between every slat of wood, we found at least one piece of trash, whether it was a paper tag, a cigarette, or plastic trash, the amount there amazed all six of us. At the end of the day, we had collected 1.5 pounds of trash, most of which were cigarette butts.
On our journey, one of our club members, Dustin Morris, was filming videos to document our findings. Every time we found we found a cigarette, he’d stop everything and pull out his phone to film. Through all the funny awkward moments of film, we really enjoyed the experience and the idea of documenting our events.
In the past year, our club has participated in three beach cleanups, this being our third. Every time we set out to search for trash, we are always amazed at how much we find and why we find it. Recently, I’ve been thinking and talking about the reasons why we have so much trash at our beaches and the number one reason others and I have concluded is the lack of education people have about pollution and beaches. That is what amazes me most whenever we do a cleanup, and it really makes one think about the ways to spread the knowledge of where people’s trash ends up and who it is effecting.
At the end of the day, we were grateful for the opportunity to help out and beautify our beaches and hope to do more in the future.