Beach cleanup yeilds 3,000 pounds of trash

Posted: Sunday, June 07, 2009

Turning the Tides organized a beach cleanup of 14 islands in the Channel Islands Marine Park on May 2.

With 39 volunteers and six donated boats, the group was able to pick up 3,000 pounds of garbage over 12 miles of shoreline. A state park boat also worked for eight hours ferrying the collected trash.

The beach cleanup was just one of Turning the Tides' many ways of bringing awareness to local environmental issues.

"There's an awful lot of human introduced debris," said retired National Marine Fisheries worker and volunteer, Ron Berg. Berg said he volunteered for the beach cleanup because "Mankind put it in the environment and mankind has to take it out."

"I gained a certain amount of knowledge and respect as to the density of the trash that's out there. There's some areas that have an awful lot of trash that needs to be picked up, some areas it's probably been accumulating for years and year, but is still not too dense," Berg said.

The volume of trash does seem to be the issue.

Two-year Turning the Tides volunteer Bob Sylvester said he has a friend who came back from a kayaking trip on June 2 and helped out.

"He said there's trash out there again, I mean already, the tides, etc. have brought more trash on to the beaches we were cleaning up a month ago," Sylvester said. "The most important part is the education to bring attention to the problem because you are never going to be able to actually go out and cleanup all the debris ... but educating people to the problem so that they stop using the ocean as a trash can."

Sylvester said he chose to participate in the beach cleanup because, "It's a something to be active and to address the problem, rather than just going out and talking to people and saying we have to stop messing with the ocean, you get to go out and actually do something about it."

The Marine Conservation Alliance Foundation donated $6,050 in fuel and supplies. Without the volunteers and the donations, organizer Carol Anderson estimates it would have cost more than $16,000.

"It was the volunteer labor and donated boats that really made it happen," Anderson said. "We're really grateful to everyone in the community who pitched in."

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