“Planet vs. Plastics” Local Beach Cleanup Lacked Participants

Palisades High School students Ian and Finn joined Councilmember Traci Park for a beach cleanup at Will Rogers State Beach on Saturday.

People in Pacific Palisades must think the beaches at Will Rogers State Beach are pristine. What else could account for the lack of the poorly attended beach cleanup from 9 to 11 a.m. on April 20?

Councilmember Traci Park, in conjunction with the Pacific Palisades Community Council, and L. A. County Supervisor Lindsey Horvath hosted a cleanup near Lifeguard Tower 15 to celebrate Earth Day.

When this editor arrived at 9 a.m., there were two people from the Community Council, five from Park’s officer, Sharon Kilbride from the Pacific Palisades Task Force on Homelessness – with an assistant – an unhoused individual. Over the next hour about 10 more people showed, making it about 20 for the day, only 11, if you subtract officials. Horvath was at Topanga and never arrived.

With the recent rains, everything flows to the ocean. Resident Nancy Fracchiolla told this editor, when she goes down to the ocean, she brings a garbage bag. After the last rain showers, she said she had forgotten a bag and the debris washing up onshore was absolutely disgusting.  And then, like magic, a laundry basket washed up out of the ocean and she was able to throw trash into it.

On Saturday, this editor filled a half of a large plastic garbage back, mostly with plastic and pieces of plastic—and of course wearing plastic gloves.

Although picking up tiny pieces of plastic is labor intensive, it still does not address micro plastics – and the need for a change.

The theme for Earth Day 2024 was “Planet versus Plastics.” On April 21, the Los Angeles Daily News ran a story by Kurt Snibbe: “The Plastic Predicament.”

He wrote that if you eat fish, you are probably eating plastic. According to several sources, a sampling of ocean fish found about one-third had plastic fragments in their digestive tract.

Phytoplankton mix with tiny plastic particles, which are then consumed by larger zooplankton. Small fish eat zooplankton, and large fish eat the smaller fish. Consumers than eat the large fish, which has plastic in its system.

Snibbe printed a pop quiz. The takeaways:

Plastic waste never fully goes away; it just breaks into smaller pieces. A team studying plastic pollution found that of the 66,077 pieces found, 95 % were a few millimeters in size.

About 8 million tons of plastic are dumped in oceans each year.

Take a guess: What percentage of its plastic does the U.S. recycle?

  1. 9 %
  2. 35%
  3. 50%
  4. 75%

As of 2019, about 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic have been produced in the U.S. and of that less than 9% has been recycled.

What year will plastic outweigh fish in the ocean? A report done by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation predicts that unless something changes, plastic will outweigh fish in the ocean by 2050.

Lance, who is working with the Pacific Palisades Task Force on Homelessness, was one of the few people to show up and pick up trash on Saturday.

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4 Responses to “Planet vs. Plastics” Local Beach Cleanup Lacked Participants

  1. Dana Dalton says:

    We the taxpayers are tired paying for city services (trash pick- up from beaches)
    And never having it done. Making the taxpayers pay AND THEN making the taxpayers do ALL the clean up is nuts.
    Los Angeles has become a joke.

  2. Sue says:

    Will Rogers State Beach is actually owned by the state, but managed by Los Angeles County, which is responsible for trash pickup.

    I pick up litter in my neighborhood–and wonder about the people who don’t teach their children that littering is bad. Unfortunately, if the litter is not picked up in ends in the ocean.

    Do you know that local businesses here in town pay a fee towards a business improvement district–and the majority of that money is going to Chrysalis who hires people, who may have been homeless who are trying to turn their lives around, to do the trash pickup and emptying of the trash bins?

    I agree that Palisadians pay taxes to the City, County and State and that we should expect some sort of services–maybe more police, paved roads, fixed sidewalks, a Rec Center that should have ADA handicapped bathrooms and playgrounds and tree trimming on street trees. Mayor Bass is funneling the majority of the upcoming City budget towards the homeless.

  3. Frances Tibbits says:

    Much beach debris is plastic bottle caps, separated from their single use beverage bottles. I see dozens weekly, sometimes hundreds. Those bottle caps are among the top five most deadly forms of ocean trash says the North Sea Foundation. Sea birds and mammals swallow the caps and die.

    Some countries require plastic bottle caps to be tethered to single use beverage bottles. In 2018, such a law was proposed in California, but manufacturers said the proposed two-year deadline was too short for manufacturers. It’s time they clean up after themselves. A few have, all should.

  4. Rick says:

    The amount of trash in the ocean and on beaches is at horrible levels. So much was washed down in the winter storms. Lots were washed up high on the sand. Tides have not gone as high so it has been sitting and breaking up. County does not rake to clean much anymore. Just rake to smooth. Less trash cans and now they don’t have lids so seagulls get in and spread trash around. Vicious circle. Sad to see such a small turnout. No advertising and not many care. Proud of those that did show up. Carry bags when going to the beach. Enough for everyone unfortunately…

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