Saturday, December 1, 2012

Day 361 - Nov. 29, 2012

lifeguard tower 26 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 min. 
3 pounds
1,318.1 pounds total 

6 cigarette butts

(this photo was taken before the rain came - compare it to the one below from the next day)

Sometimes the plastics on the sand blend right into the landscape. You have to look carefully to spot all the fragments mixed in with the natural debris. 
This detail shot is what most of the beach looked like on Nov. 29th. 

I've offered a tip to help the ocean for every one of my last ten beach cleanups. Since this beach cleanup  it has rained enough to flush the storm drains into Santa Monica Bay. This post's tip is inspired by my friend Sarah's picture taken on Friday Nov. 30, 2012 at lifeguard tower 20 next to the Pico/Kenter storm drain. 


(photo credit to Sarah Sikich of Heal the Bay)


Trash strewn across my local beach disturbs me, but it can change. It changes when we come together and decide to reach for solutions. One simple solution is for me not to buy food products in styrofoam packaging. I've quit drinking plastic bottled water too. 

Sound too simple to be the one-two punch solution a picture like this demands? 

In a coastal city of 15 million people, if for one day we all decided to buy one less beverage bottled in plastic that's 15 million less plastic containers likely to end up on the sand. 
We're never alone. We all have dozens of daily choices that impact the world around us. 
We all matter. We can make a difference, in fact we are the only ones who can.


  1. Every business that makes a drop of its income from the beach should see that photo. It's bad enough that people can't swim/surf after a storm coz of the sewage; now they can't even enjoy a stroll on beautiful sand anymore! Get enough stakeholders mad, and there just might be real change.

    1. Harry -
      I understand your idea. And I think it is great to consider coming at this problem from many different angles. I am talking to someone who works for the city on Wed. and will let you know what the strategies are that come from our talk. Stay tuned! Thanks Harry!

  2. I'm going to use an overused descriptive here, but you are awesome! How about posting some tips for those of us who might want to emulate you, even if on a smaller scale. How do you pick stuff up, especially tiny cigarette butts? Do you use any tools? Do you wear gloves of some kind? What do you put the stuff in? If you use a plastic garbage bag, how thick should it be? Do you separate the recyclables? Where do you put the trash once you've finished collecting it? How can you be sure the stuff you pick up wouldn't be picked up anyway by the city beach clean-up tractors? (I know they only get a fraction of what's out there, but I'd like to leave that fraction to them and make my efforts count.) How do you weigh the stuff? What about hazardous stuff like syringes? Is there anything else I should know?

    You've set a pretty high bar for the rest of us, and I doubt that I could commit to more than 20 minutes a week, but if enough of us did even that, it could make a difference, I think. Anyway, thanks, and I'll say it again: You're awesome!

    1. Thanks for all of your great questions. You inspired my latest post so find all your answers here -

      thanks again!

      p.s. let me know if you do a Daily Ocean cleanup and I will put it on my blog!