Coming together for a cleaner coast

William Pournamdari, Staff Writer

This Saturday, hundreds of volunteers flocked to the Redondo Beach site for Coastal Cleanup Day to participate in an international effort to help clean up the oceanfront.

“The idea was to get everyone in the community to come out connect with nature, appreciate how beautiful our environment in Los Angeles is and just get into nature,” site coordinator Jose Bacallao said.

Over 350 volunteers and 56 divers gathered to collect waste and debris along the coastline. Volunteers were overwhelmed with the abundance of trash ranging from fishing lines to cell phones.

“It destroys the food that we bring to our families, the economy of our state and it also creates an unhealthy environment, and since we eat from the ocean and we swim and play in the ocean, all this pollution directly impacts us,” Bacallao said.

According to Fent the work done will not just help just provide a quick solution but will have long lasting effects because everyone who participates got to see the effects of pollution on the environment.

“People are going to learn about the issue that we have of trash in the ocean, and they’re going to be able to go out in the world and be able to spread the word that we need to better with our trash and not let it get into storm drains,” site coordinator Rebecca Fent.

Cleaning up the environment helps benefit the ecosystem which in return directly impacts the citizens of the community.

“We help each other, ourselves and our neighbors when we do positive things like clean up trash on streets, schools, and here on the beach. The other thing people need to recognize is as we continue to put pollution in the ocean, we are destroying the fragile ecosystem of the bay. In the end, we are hurting ourselves; we are putting those pollutants back into bodies which is not sustainable and very unhealthy. A lot of the work we do at heal the bay is to get people to think that way and be active and participate in their communities and make it a better place,” Bacallao said.

Although Coastal Cleanup Day is only an annual event, it will help improve the health of the bay even after the collective effort.

“The biggest takeaway people will have is that they can see the devastation of plastic and pollution that we create as humans and how it’s affecting our ocean in a negative way,” Bacallao said.

Harmful pollutants such as Styrofoam and plastic are ingested by animals which we later eat.

“We use this ocean as a food source for families; we eat fish and lobster; we eat a lot of animals from the ocean,” Bacallao said.

“We depend on this ocean for our economic input to our state and the pollution we create destroys all that,” Bacallao said. “We want a clean environment so our family, for kids, and our great grandchildren have a healthy environment in the future as well.”

The Redondo Beach clean-up site was just one of 50 in the Los Angeles area. “Wherever you live we have volunteer opportunities all over the greater LA area,” Bacallao said.

“Everyone should be getting involved in their environment and community whether you live in Redondo Beach or whether you live in downtown LA,” Bacallao said. “We are part of this greater community, and it’s our responsibility to make our lives better.”