The Urban Heat Island Effect in Los Angeles by Ji Hyun Park and Ji Sun Park

In 2012, during the Creek Week program with Heal the Bay, my sister and I grew interested in the Los Angeles River and the environmental impacts of the concretion of the different sectors of the river. In the November of 2013, my sister and I researched five different sites along the Los Angeles River. These areas ranged from environmental healthy mountainous regions of the river to heavily urban-concreted areas. In conclusion to this yearlong study of the water quality of the multiple sites of the Los Angeles River, we were able to find that there was a temperature fluctuations between the two sites. The environmentally healthier areas had lower temperatures, while the urban areas of the river showed higher temperatures. This, we concluded, was the result of the Urban Heat Island effect. The Heat Island Effect is when an urban or metropolitan area is warmer than the surrounding areas.

For the last several decades, human population has shifted from rural areas to urbanized areas. This urbanization to metropolitan cities has led to a larger economy, higher convenience, and increased industry. Despite these positive impacts of urbanization, there have also been multiple negative impacts of the creation of Metropolitan cities. There has been increased heat production due to burning of fossil fuels and increased industrial and residential activities. Vegetation were reduced in order to make more room. There has also been increased heat absorbance in these Metropolitan cities as the building and paving materials absorb solar energy.

Urbanization has also shown environmental impacts. There are increases in energy consumption due to higher heat of the surrounding areas. This results in reduced air quality and increases in greenhouse gases, as power plants burn more fuel in order to cater to the energy needs of the public. This air pollution leads to acid rain and climate changes. The increased heat from urbanization can also result in health issues for humans.

All this results in what is called the Heat Island Effect. Los Angeles is definitely experiencing a Heat Island Effect. Due to this, residents of Los Angeles are suffering from health problems. There were hundreds of people who went to the emergency room due to heat-related illnesses from 2005-2010.

When compared to every city in the United States experiencing a Heat Island effect, Los Angeles is not the hottest city. However, it is notably the hottest city in the west as well as one of the cities that receives the lowest mean precipitation.

Los Angeles has taken initiatives to mitigate the Heat Island Effect. One of the ways is the use of CoolSeal to paint pavements and roads. CoolSeal is a special type of paint that reflects heat. Animals prefer walking on areas treated with CoolSeal rather than regular pavements; treated areas were 10 degrees cooler than untreated areas.

Other cities have also taken initiatives to mitigate this problem. One city initiative was the revitalization of Seoul’s Cheonggyecheon. Cheonggyecheon was a heavily polluted stream that ran in the heart of Seoul, South Korea. It was completely paved and a highway was built on top of it. The stream emitted a horrible stench and was home to millions of rats. In 2008, removing the highway rehabilitated the stream and concrete, planted greeneries, and made cold water flow properly.

The average surface temperatures of Seoul before and after the revitalization did not change. However, the average air temperature of Cheonggyecheon showed a startling drop of approximately one degree Celsius. The study showed that temperature decreased dramatically near the presence of flowing water for about fifty meters before temperature rose to the same height.

Los Angeles, like Seoul, has a river that flows in its heart. As our previous research on the LA River indicated, surface temperatures impact air temperatures. The sites with more vegetation had lower surface temperatures, resulting in cooler air temperatures, while built-up concreted areas of the river had higher surface temperatures, resulting in hotter air temperatures.

In light of this, we wished to present a suggestion on the ways Los Angeles could mitigate the Heat Island Effect. We would like to suggest the revitalization of the Los Angeles River, which would cool down the surrounding areas and give a safe, environmentally friendly place for its citizens. Another was lining the streets with small canals like Germany’s Freiburg Bächle (Gutters) and South Korea’s Jeonju/Gwanghwamun Mulgil (Water Path). Doing so would enlarge the reach of the water path, cooling down the entire city rather than the area of the stream.

If you would like to learn more, please check out Ji Hyun Park and Ji Sun Park’s full project:

Heat Island PowerPoint

The Urban Heat Island Effect (Full)


PVHS Cleans Torrance Beach!

On March 24, 2018, PVHS Heal the Bay set out to clean up Torrance Beach. We had 25
members show up to help out. We started at 10 a.m. and continued until noon. We sent people out in pairs

and groups of three. We collected 1,739 pieces of trash. Out of these 1,739 pieces, 203 were plastic wrappers, 667 were miscellaneous pieces of plastic, 271 were styrofoam pieces, and 113 were cigarette butts. We found all of this trash in the bushes, along the

bike path, in the parking lot, by the water, and everywhere in between.

On April 28, 2018, a nice, clear, warm Saturday, PVHS Heal the Bay put on its own
beach clean up at Torrance Beach. The clean up started at 10:00 a.m. and ended at 12:00 p.m. We searched for trash in the bushes, in the sand, by the bike path, and by the water, travelling up and down the coast. We had 25 high school students, ranging from freshmen to seniors, participate in picking up trash all along Torrance Beach. We picked up things like plastic and glass bottles, plastic straws, cigarette butts, cardboard, and so much more, including 242 miscellaneous plastic pieces.

MKHS Heal the Bay Cleans Santa Monica Beach for Earth Day

On Earth Day, our club MKHS Heal the Bay, along with other volunteers, set off to clean Santa Monica Beach. We arrived twenty minutes before the clean up began and lined up to get registered. After registering, we met with one of the Heal the Bay members to discuss safety and ground rules for the cleanup.

Once all of us had gloves, buckets and the checklist to keep track of the different types of items we would find, we were ready to go. The seven of us set out into two groups to start collecting the trash. Within the first 10 minutes, we were able to collect a few pieces of plastic as well as some bits of glass. We had even found a few zippers lying around the sand. While walking, we collected shredded pieces of styrofoam and some bottle caps. Eventually, we encountered one of the storm drains that the members had discussed about before. While the water was not high enough to connect to the drain water, it did form a small pond full of dirty water. When taking a closer look, we could find a lot of plastics, glass, and other pieces of trash lying around. We were able to collect them before heading back. Every piece of plastic, glass, or trash we found, we marked it down on the checklist. By the time we got back to starting point, we found over 50 pieces of plastics and at least 3 pieces of glass as well as a significant amount of miscellaneous materials. The other group’s data was similar to what we found. After handing the checklists over, we sorted the different materials and recyclables.

Once in a while, we took a break while walking along the shoreline. Because we were wearing closed-toe shoes to protect our feet, we had to occasionally dart away from incoming waves to avoid getting them wet. Not only was it relaxing during the small break, but it also allowed us to appreciate the scenery as well.

Considering the sizes of the items we found, it was quite difficult trying to pick them up with the cloth gloves. Luckily, our members brought in regular vinyl gloves to pick up the smaller bits. Plus, some of them had even brought their own plastic grabbers to reach for the more difficult items.

While crouching near the ground to search for clutter lying around was not the best experience, the end result of being able to even collect small amount of trash from the environment made it worth it. Being able to spend a nice day out on the beach doing and helping clean up the environment leaves a good feeling.

Mark Keppel High School Heal the Bay Club Tabling Event!

MKHS Heal the Bay club participated in a tabling event on April 21, 2018. This tabling was part of Monterey Park’s Earth Day celebration. Volunteers from Mark Keppel High’s Heal the Bay club helped spread the word about Heal the Bay and their mission to the residents of Monterey Park. Their booth had a game with Heal the Bay prizes and flyers promoting current Heal the Bay campaigns such as Strawless Summer. In the game, participants had to categorize trash, represented by the

tennis balls(the names of the trash were written in marker on the ball), into four disposal boxes marked “E-Waste, Toxic, Recyclable, and Trash that should not be in the Ocean.” If the participant was able to make at least three “trash” tennis balls into the correct box(es), they were able to receive a Heal the Bay sticker, Heal the Bay bookmarks, candy, or an adorable Seal card with information about Heal the Bay on its back. For example, there was a tennis ball labeled “plastic”, and the participant would identify it as a recyclable and make it into the “Recyclable ” bin or “Trash that should no

t be in the Ocean”. The category marked “Trash that should not be in the Ocean” was a trick question because all trash thrown into that box would be valid. The project began about 6 months before Earth Day to contact the city of Monterey Park’s representatives to ask for a table at the Earth Day festival. Other environmental clubs at Mark Keppel were also collaborating for this event, so communication was key. While that was happening, the game had to be planned. A game would entice participants to come visit the booth and would be a fun way to promote the club and Heal the Bay. Lastly, the materials for the tabling event were sent by mail, tabling shifts were filled by MKHS Heal the Bay club members, and the tabling event was ready!

Strangely, a lot of participants did not realize that all the tennis balls could go in the box “Trash that should not be in the Ocean.” When volunteers told participants of this, the participants laughed at themselves for not noticing this. Some members also showed off their hand-eye coordination while playing the tossing game. One visitor who worked for the LA sanitation department shared his gratitude for our efforts and Heal the Bay’s programs. Club members and participants learned about our effects of pollution and responsible waste disposal. Club members also worked on their social and public speaking skills while talking to participants. Hopefully this tabling event will spark more eco-friendly action in Monterey Park and encourage residents to come to one of Heal the Bay’s beach cleanups. This project was a new and beneficial experience for many club members. We would definitely join another Ecosummit organization again.


Marlborough and Loyola High School CHB Adopts Dockweiler Beach

Marlborough and Loyola’s Heal the Bay clubs teamed up to adopt Dockweiler Beach at Imperial Highway on March 11th, 18th, and 25th.

Our first cleanup day was on a rainy day, but we pushed through and picked up as much trash as we could. As expected, we mostly found plastic wrappers, plastic pieces, and styrofoam pieces. Our second day and third days were warm and dry, and we got a lot more done as shown in our data. We experienced the similar trend of picking up a host of plastic wrappers, plastic pieces, and styrofoam pieces. We even found a dead chicken and multiple scattered bones! However, we also saw bundles of feathers tangled up in nets or other trash, showing us trash’s danger to wildlife.

What upset our members the most was the amount of styrofoam we found. Although we picked up hundreds of items such as plastic pieces and plastic wrappers, styrofoam pieces by far exceeded any other item! The styrofoam we found ranged from the tiniest of pieces to bowls and large fast-food cups. We had a grand total of 1,369 styrofoam pieces! It was also disturbing how many cigarette butts we found, and didn’t expect to find so many. At the end of all of our cleanups, we had found a total of 271 cigarette butts.

We are so grateful for our club members, who woke up early to help make Dockweiler a cleaner place! Because they put in the time and effort, they feel that adopting Dockweiler Beach was a rewarding experience and made them want to take future action in further protecting our beaches!

(PS from Halina: Be sure to check out their graph that they created from Heal the Bay’s Marine Debris Database in the slideshow! The graph sums up all the trash types they accumulated over their three cleanups.)


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Palos Verdes HS cleans Torrance Beach


On February 17th, the PVHS Chapter of Heal the Bay went out to clean up Torrance Beach. It was a clear day, and we had a great turn-out. We started around 10:00, and the event ran for about two hours. The groups, dispatched in pairs and trios, found a lot of small plastic pieces and cigarette buds. Groups also found interesting objects, including diapers, syringes, and band aids. After about two hours of trash pick-up, we were able to collect about 500 pieces of Styrofoam and 230 pieces of plastic, along with other large numbers of different trash. Most of the trash was found along the bike paths, where many people walk, run, and bike daily.

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Water Artwork by Hannah Megery

Hannah Megery is a 17 year old multi media artist. Her mediums include oil paint, acrylics, pen & ink, watercolor, graphite, pyrography (wood-burning), charcoal, and vinyl.  She has been taking art classes since she was 10 years old, and before that her father was teaching her.

We asked her how the ocean and water inspire her water artwork. Check out her response and stunning artwork below.


I am deeply fascinated by water and how much force this simple chemical compound holds. As a lifelong resident of Pacific Palisades, I grew up right beside the ocean and, eventually, became a certified lifeguard. From these experiences I’ve learned that water has the power to both give and take away life. I came to understand water as a unique entity with a highly unpredictable personality. Now, in high school, I’m furthering my understanding of the ocean and aquatic life, and expressing my love for protecting them through painting.

My artwork explores water’s many relationships with society and the earth. Every living thing depends on water’s abundance and benevolence, yet water also has the power to destroy entire civilizations when we turn a blind eye to today’s environmental issues. I investigated water’s initial beauty and ability to sustain and protect life; but as society drains resources, pollutes oceans, and quickens the pace of climate change, I explored how these events alter water’s impacts. Ultimately, water becomes a life force that defines the world’s successes and critical failures.

Through this artwork, the viewer is able to gain a newfound respect and appreciation for water as if it were a person with thoughts and feelings. I intend to continue painting water in the hopes of inspiring others to preserve our world. My goal is that one day, my art can be used as a conduit for environmental advocacy and stewardship across the globe! – Hannah Megery 


To see more of Hannah’s art visit her website.

Hello from Halina!


My name is Halina Do-Linh and I am the new Programs Coordinator for Heal the Bay. I will be working together with Club Heal the Bay partners, as well as coordinating other beach programs that we run at Heal the Bay including Suits on the Sands and Nothin’ But Sand Cleanups. I haven’t been here long, but from looking at past Youth Summits and your previous Club Heal the Bay events/projects I can see there is a so much dedication, enthusiasm, and creativity that comes from the young adults (you!) in the Greater Los Angeles area. Because of that I am so excited to be working with each and every one of you to achieve your club goals, plan events and activities, and to recognize all that you have done to help the environment. Here is a little bit about myself and my journey to Heal the Bay.

I am someone who grew up on camping trips, hikes, and endless explorations of all the different kinds of ecosystems that California hosts. I was lucky to have those experiences because it ignited a passion that led me to participate in beach cleanups (ones like Heal the Bay hosts), to intern at the Moorpark College Zoo, and ultimately to complete my bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies and Biology at the University of California, Santa Cruz. After university, I went on to travel and explore other environments for either work or personal. I saw glaciers in Patagonia, Bristlecone Pines in the Eastern Sierras, Whale Sharks in Southern Baja California, Ringtail cats in the Mojave Desert, and so much more. I was an outdoor educator teaching primarily middle school students, and after that I was coordinating a UC-wide field course working with undergrads.

By the end of 2017 though I was drawn back home to Los Angeles where I spent most of my childhood– where my passion for the environment first began. I am incredibly happy to be part of Heal the Bay where I can extend my fascination and concerns about the environment to young adults like you and everyone else.

In my free time, you can find me with my head in the tide pools or up in the Santa Monica Mountains. One of my favorite local hikes is Sandstone Peak, which is the highest peak in the Santa Monica Mountains! I can’t wait to connect with all of you who are part of Club Heal the Bay.

— Halina