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Mon, Jul

Plastic Free July: Angelenos are Helping Clean Up LA’s River and Beaches

CLIMATE

PLASTIC CLEANUP - Local nonprofit advocacy group Los Angeles Waterkeeper is inviting people to join them for any or all of four volunteer beach cleanups this month, part of the global Plastic Free July movement. Last year, more than 700 volunteers participated, collecting more than 4,000 pounds of trash – most of it plastic – and cleaning up more than 4 miles of coastline, river, and creek beds.

In the Los Angeles region alone, 10 metric tons of plastic is carried into the Pacific Ocean every day. By 2050, some estimates predict there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. Fortunately, the people of Los Angeles are taking action. LA Waterkeeper’s annual beach and river cleanups raise awareness of our growing plastics problem, motivating people to reduce their plastic use year-round.

And once people see the scope of the problem for themselves, they are often moved to take the next step, which is to push decision-makers to address the issue on a society-wide scale. Last year, LA City and County passed several new laws to reduce the volume of plastic pollution in our community, and California passed SB 54 to hold industries accountable for the plastic waste they produce. The passage of these laws show that everyday Angelenos can and do make a difference.

“Everyone can take that first step by choosing one type of single-use plastic in their daily lives and finding a sustainable, re-usable substitute,” encouraged Bruce Reznik, Executive Director of LA Waterkeeper. “And I invite all Angelenos to join us at one of our Plastic Free July Cleanup Challenges. Together we can make the LA River and our beaches more beautiful, healthy, and enjoyable.”

On a day-to-day level, everyone can reduce their plastic consumption, by taking such steps as carrying cloth bags to the grocery store; investing in a water filter instead of buying plastic water bottles; and choosing toys and household items made of natural materials and packed in cardboard packaging – or no packaging at all.

People can take Plastic Free July’s Pesky Plastics Quiz to help identify the plastics they may not be aware they’re using and to set a goal for the month to establish new, lower-plastic habits.

Plastic particles build up in waterways, in drinking water, in our bodies, and in wildlife, causing pollution and health problems. Plastic-based trash and microplastic particles are a major source of pollution in the LA River.

The LA River traverses 51 miles and weaves through 17 diverse cities from its headwaters in the San Fernando Valley to the Pacific Ocean. Like other urban rivers, it has the potential to provide easy access to nature, green spaces that sequester carbon and produce clean air, cooling shade, ecological habitat, and groundwater recharge. LA Waterkeeper fights for clean abundant water, stormwater and flood control, and green parks for all Angelenos.

For more information and to sign up for one of the beach or river cleanup events, happening every upcoming Saturday in July, go to https://lawaterkeeper.link/pfj23.

(Kelly Shannon McNeill is Development & Communications Director for Los Angeles Waterkeeper.)