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Heal the Bay Blog

Author: Emely Garcia

Our winters bring increased rainfall in the Los Angeles region. During this season, when many don’t usually flock to the beach like during warmer months, our Storm Response Team is our ocean’s first responder after major rain events. 

Winter Storms in LA

The biggest storm of the 2021-2022 winter season, as of yet, arrived in Southern California on Tuesday, December 14, 2021. “As far as intensity, it’s one of our stronger storms,” Kristan Lund, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said in the LA Times. “It’s definitely the strongest we’ve seen so far, and potentially one of the stronger ones we’ll see this season.”

While we desperately need the rain to quench our ecosystems, unfortunately it comes with a wave of trash. 

Stormwater is the major source of pollution for rivers, lakes, and ocean in Los Angeles County, California. The first flush from a major rain event brings a flood of water, toxins, debris, and trash from our streets straight onto our beaches through the storm drain system. The untreated runoff eventually dumps pollution onto local shorelines. This waste poses a significant risk for wildlife and marine life who can ingest trash or get entangled, and also for the health of our communities who can get sick from bacteria-polluted water.

Our local waters need your help combating marine debris after every big storm in LA during the winter.

Take Part in a Self-Guided Cleanup

Gather friends and family or go solo to take part in a storm response cleanup by spending 30 minutes to an hour cleaning up around your neighborhood or local outdoor space. Remember, trash removed from a street or park means that less waste will make its way through the storm drain system, onto our beaches, and then out to sea.

In addition to doing a cleanup near you, take a look at the map above and target these beach sites today or this week. Highlighted areas are near storm drain outfalls and usually have the most trash after it rains—so this is where you can make the biggest impact. 

Join the Storm Response Team

The rain is coming, are you ready to answer the call?

This won’t be LA’s last storm. Heal the Bay needs more volunteers to join our Storm Response Team for the rainy season to help remove trash, track data, and document photos. If you’re interested in joining our dedicated Storm Response Team to be the ocean’s first responder after #LARain, sign up to receive alerts about volunteer opportunities! 

Join the Storm Response Team

Already a Storm Response Team Member?

Keep an eye on your email inbox. About 24-hours after each rainfall has ended the Storm Response Team leader will email an alert with the location of the next cleanup. When the storm rolls in, collect your gear and get ready to answer the call! If you need a refresher on how to prepare, what to bring, and how to safely take part, review the most critical storm response information.

Critical Storm Response Information

 

Thanks for Being the Ocean’s First Responder

Whether you joined the Storm Response Team, are in the process of learning more about the issue, or are leading a cleanup of your own soon, THANK YOU!

Share your efforts on social media and encourage friends, family, and your network to get involved by tagging your finds with @healthebay and #healthebay.

 If you have questions about our Storm Response Team, please reach out to Emely Garcia.

 

Special thanks to our sponsor!



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As the tide turns on Coastal Cleanup Month, our big waves of gratitude and appreciation roll in for all who took part. We embarked on Coastal Cleanup Month with the mission of Healing Our Watersheds together. Even though it was another year of uncertainty due to the pandemic, our Coastal Cleanup Month participants still made an impact while keeping one another safe.   

Thank you for volunteering in a cleanup, joining us at a virtual event, supporting our fundraising efforts, and sharing your exciting cleanup stories with photos and videos. Collectively, our contributions cleaned up our beaches, wetlands, waterways, neighborhoods, and mountain trails. 

Combining the Best of Both Waves: In-Person & Virtual in 2021 

The COVID-19 pandemic reminds us that even when our world seems to be shut down, the trash never stops. Pollution continues to wreak havoc locally and globally in our watersheds and communities. 

Last year, Heal the Bay expanded Coastal Cleanup Day to encompass the entire month. Our communities attended interactive virtual events and we encouraged self-guided cleanups throughout the month in order to do our part while protecting the health and safety of all.

Coastal Cleanup Month 2021 continued to highlight how cleanups can and should be done anywhere, anytime – not just along the coast. Our virtual events on Instagram Live and Zoom were led by scientists and experts who discussed environmental issues in Los Angeles County and focused on inclusive solutions. 

This year — with careful planning and consideration — we were thrilled to bring back in-person cleanups on Coastal Cleanup Day in a limited capacity. In addition to self-guided cleanups throughout the month, we also wanted to safely come together outside to take action.


Emely Garcia, Coastal Cleanup Day Coordinator for Los Angeles County, praises the community effort to bring back safe, in-person cleanups for the big day, “The preparation and planning from our staff, site captains, and volunteers made this such a rewarding Coastal Cleanup Day. While this Coastal Cleanup looks much different than past years, it was wonderful being back in person, even at reduced capacity, protecting what we love.” 

Coastal Cleanup Day would not have been possible without the leadership of our volunteer site captains across LA County:

Alex Preso, Anne Walker, Art Liem, Art Salter, Ashley Zarella, Barbara Gentile – Crary, Britany Goldsmith, Brittaney Olaes, Carl Carranza, Catherine Vargas, David Weeshoff, Don Nipper, Emily Parker, Fallon Rabin, Grace Young, Homin Houta, Jay Fodor, Joan Hernandez, Joel Glen, John La Rock, Karen Barnett, Lendi Slover, Leslie Cortez, Lois Brunet, Luke Ginger, Matthew Billinghurst, Maritza Toles, Nainoa Cravalho, Nick Shattuck, Patricia Jimenez, Patrick Tyrell, Roger Waiters, Say Craig, Supriyaa Singh, Tarry Kang, Terumi Toyoshima, and William Bowling. 

A special THANK YOU to our site captains for leading the in-person effort on Coastal Cleanup Day!

Coastal Cleanup Month Results 

This year, 4,708 volunteers across LA County collected over 30,000 pieces of trash during September for Coastal Cleanup Month.  

Coastal Cleanup Day 

On Saturday Sept 18, we had 2,735 volunteers join us at 35 beaches, river, and inland sites across Los Angeles County, California to participate in Coastal Cleanup Day 2021.

In a span of three hours, our volunteers removed 5,051 pounds of trash and 156 pounds of recyclables. They covered 50+ miles of area on land and underwater, tracking their trash and memories as they went. 

Weird Finds 

An Invisalign at the beach? A golf bag underwater? A traffic cone in the creek? It would not be Coastal Cleanup Day without a list of weird trash finds. 

Here are a few of our favorites from Coastal Cleanup Day 2021: 

  • Barbie Doll head found in a tide pool (Surfrider Beach) 
  • Baby jumper car (Long Beach) 
  • Social Security Card (Santa Monica Beach – North) 
  • Student LAUSD Bus Pass from 2012 (Toes Beach) 
  • Fake $50 Bill and Pearl earring (Mother’s Beach) 
  • Bike wheel and pineapple (Ballona Wetlands) 

Self-Guided Cleanups

973 self-guided cleanups took place all month long and were an essential part of Coastal Cleanup Month. Heal the Bay volunteers took initiative to clean up every aspect of our watershed over the four-week span, especially at their outdoor happy places. With sweat on their brow, smiles on their faces, and buckets full of trash, we want to highlight the amazing work of our 1,973 cleanup volunteers.

We had participants across our watershed; mountains – 42, neighborhoods – 183, waterways – 29, and beaches – 1,717.

Our Overall Impact 

LA County’s Top 10 Trash Items 

The results are in! Take a look at the top 10 trash items removed by volunteers in Los Angeles County during September 2021.

Why Do We Track Trash Data? 

Data collected by volunteers during Coastal Cleanup Month is necessary in tracking local and global pollution trends. Our cleanup trash totals provide a snapshot of the current waste stream circulating here in Los Angeles and around the globe. This provides important baseline knowledge to inform and influence public policy and business practices for a healthier ocean, cleaner waterways, and safer communities.  

As our top 10 trash items list displays, pollution from single-use plastic is the most prominent litter source in Los Angeles County.  

PPE: Year Two of the Pandemic and its Impact on Our Environment 

2020 was the first time we tracked the improper disposal of single-use personal protective equipment for LA County. Last year, it ranked #10 in the Top 10 Finds for Coastal Cleanup Month. This year, it ranks #9. Our data displays the negative impact the pandemic and sanitary measures have had on our waste stream, adding to another global problem: single-use plastic. 

Problematic Plastic: The Takeover of Microplastics

For both self-guided cleanups and in-person cleanup trash totals, the most frequent find was small plastic pieces. Our volunteers collected 6,547 plastic pieces. These problematic plastic pieces eventually break down into microplastics. Microplastics, which measure less than 5 mm, populate every aspect of our watershed  found in our water, the food we eat, and swirling around in our atmosphere. This is a worldwide crisis, not just for the environment but for humans as well.  

As shown in our data above, single-use plastic from the food and drink industry are huge pollution sources, and eventual microplastic contributors as they breakdown in our environment. While cleanups aid in reducing the volume of plastic pieces that wind up in our watershed, we need to address the problem at the source. That’s why we’re fighting for effective plastic policies that limit the production of single-use plastic and make it easier for recyclable plastic to be disposed of properly.  

Take Action: From Bills to Law, We Need Your Help  

The California legislature introduced the Circular Economy Package in 2021 to fight plastic pollution. Here are three bills in the package that tackle plastic pollution, and could use your help to get signed into law: 

Senate Bill 343: The Truth in Environmental Advertising Act 

Have you ever turned over a plastic cup to see if it can be recycled, and noticed there is a number that’s encircled with the “chasing arrows” symbol. This leads you to believe it is recyclable, right?! Well, most of the time, it is not actually recyclable. SB 343 makes using the Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle symbol illegal if the item cannot actually be recycled. It only permits the use of the ♻️  symbol to be used on items that can be recycled in California. What a novel idea, huh! SB 343 helps to clarify what items should go in the recycling bin, reducing confusion among consumers while improving diversion rates. This means less waste is sent to landfill and more is actually recycled. 

Assembly Bill 1276: Disposable Foodware Accessories 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us relied much more heavily on restaurant takeout and food delivery to feed ourselves and our loved ones while supporting local restaurants. The downside? Receiving disposable foodware accessories like cutlery, condiment packets, and straws that we don’t need and frequently end up in the trash without ever being used. These items, often made of single-use plastic, are clogging waste facilities and polluting our environment. AB 1276 would require foodware accessories only be provided upon explicit request of the customer, so you wouldn’t get them unless you ask. 

Assembly Bill 962: California Beverage Container Recycling and Litter Reduction Act 

What’s the best way to fight plastic pollution? Tackling the problem at the source. This bill focuses on replacing harmful disposable plastic items with sustainable reusable and refillable products. AB 962 promotes returnable and refillable beverage bottles in California by allowing glass bottles to be washed and refilled by beverage companies instead of crushed and recycled into new bottles – a much less energy-intensive process that encourages reuse and refill.

Take action! Urge Governor Gavin Newsom to sign the Circular Economy Package Into Law and many others here: https://camustlead.org/ 

Reduce Your Plastic Pollution EVERY DAY

In addition to urging the California Governor to sign strong anti-pollution policies into law, you can make changes every day to reduce the amount of plastic waste that enters our watershed. 

Expanding upon the eco-friendly concept of reduce, reuse, and recycle, we encourage you to go two steps further before recycling an item: refuse and repurpose. Incorporating the 5 R’s of sustainability into your daily decision-making as a consumer will limit the expulsion of single-use plastic waste and its effects on our environment. 

Before throwing an item in the trash, we encourage you to walk through these five steps: 

  1. Refuse 
  2. Reduce 
  3. Reuse 
  4. Repurpose 
  5. Recycle

Disposing plastic waste properly is important, but we must acknowledge that the prevalence of plastic in our world is not a burden that falls solely on the consumer – producers, we’re looking at you too! By using your voice to influence public policies and business practices for a plastic-free future, you are holding companies and corporations accountable for the waste they create. 

Coastal Cleanup Month shows us that when communities work together, we make a big splash. This shared work must continue, and we must protect what we love every day. 

Stay involved and support our clean water mission year-round with Adopt-a-Beach, Club Heal the Bay, Suits on the Sand, and MPA Watch.  Sign up for our Blue Newsletter and Action Alerts to stay in the loop on our current science, advocacy, community action, and education programs and campaigns. 

And don’t forget to save the date on Saturday, September 17, 2022, for next year’s Coastal Cleanup! 

Big Wave of Thanks 

As we reflect on our goals and impact from Coastal Cleanup Month 2021, we want to thank our amazing partners who helped make our in-person and virtual programming possible:  

Portland Potato Vodka 

Ocean Conservancy 

California Coastal Commission 

Water for LA 

City of Santa Monica 

TIME TO ACT Entertainment 

Also, special thanks to Kelsey Davenport, our poster designer, and Steve Nguyen, our animated video creator for their amazing artistic contributions.



As the sun sets on Coastal Cleanup Month, we are looking back with gratitude and appreciation for everyone who participated in a cleanup, helped us spread the word, raised funds, and joined a virtual event over the course of the month. At a time when it’s easy to feel isolated from one another, it is inspiring to see how we came together across the County, from summit to sea, to protect what we love.

A New Take on 2020

Heal the Bay has been the LA County coordinator for Coastal Cleanup Day for more than 30 years, and 2020 proved to be a completely different cleanup effort than years past. In an effort to prioritize the health and safety of the community, the re-imagined concept was expanded to become an entire month of individualized cleanups close to home and virtual programming to educate about the impacts of trash and pollution and how we can work together towards solutions. Our Heal the Bay Aquarium education team engaged 437 LAUSD students with virtual programming about protecting our watersheds. This was also the first year that we asked for volunteer fundraisers to support our clean water mission. Fundraising teams and individuals raised close to $2,000, and we are grateful for their support.

Each week of Coastal Cleanup Month focused on a different region, starting at the top of our mountains, working through our neighborhoods & waterways, and culminating at our wetlands & beaches. The weekly programming featured a series of panels, webinars, and Instagram Lives with partner organizations that explored the various community and environmental issues facing Los Angeles County. 

None of this would have been possible without our Coastal Cleanup Month sponsors, and we would like to thank Water for LA, Blue Shield, K-Swiss, Ford, and West Basin Municipal Water District for their support.

2020 Impact

This year, we set a goal of collecting 31,000 pieces of trash throughout the month of September. Thanks to our dedicated Regional Ambassadors and 2,334 registered cleanup volunteers, we surpassed this goal with a total of 40,101 pieces of trash collected!

The top 10 items found across Los Angeles County in the month of September were:

Download our full Coastal Cleanup Month Wrap-Up Book for 2020

The Effects of PPE and the Pandemic on Our Environment

Coastal Cleanup Month was the first initiative of this scale to track the impact of the improper disposal of single-use personal protective equipment (PPE) in LA County. In the first year of tracking this item, PPE was one of the top 10 items found by our volunteers, surpassing common items like glass bottles. 

Through our data, we can clearly see the effects of the pandemic on our waste stream. Another observation is that people are relying more than ever on takeout, delivery, and outdoor dining at beaches, parks, and other public spaces. Disposable foodware accessories like utensils, straws, and takeout containers were some of the most common items found during cleanups.

The Plastic Problem

Looking at the data collected throughout Coastal Cleanup Month, it’s obvious that single-use plastic is the top offender. From utensils and straws to takeout containers and grocery bags, our lives are filled with plastic – and so is our environment. Unfortunately, the effects of COVID-19 have worsened these single-use habits and curbed a lot of progress that we’ve seen in Los Angeles over the last several years. 

Plastic grocery bags were a common item found during cleanups until California became the first state in the nation to impose a statewide bag ban in 2014. Before the pandemic hit, we were making great strides in reducing our single-use plastic waste. We could bring our reusable bags to the grocery store and refill our reusable coffee cups at Starbucks, and our environment and community were all the better for it. Now, plastic producers are using the pandemic to push disposable plastics as a safer option, a position that has no scientific merit. They were able to undo the work of the state bag ban, and grocery stores statewide have not only reintroduced single-use plastic bags, but many have banned reusable bags from entering stores. This year, we saw plastic grocery bags, cups, and lids in the top 10 items found by our volunteers during Coastal Cleanup Month.  

We also found that other than cigarette butts and PPE, the top 10 items are all food and drink-related. With the increasing reliance on takeout and delivery, plastic cutlery and other accessories are becoming a bigger and bigger issue. Restaurants often throw these items in takeout bags regardless of whether the customer needs them or not. To put this in perspective, 40 billion plastic utensils are thrown away each year in the United States. Plastic foodware items, like straws, utensils, and condiment packets cannot be recycled, so they are destined to end up in a landfill, incinerator, or polluting our oceans and communities.

How Can You Help?

Plastic pollution may seem like something that is out of your control. However, there are easy ways you can help make waves of change, from using reusable products when you can to supporting environmental legislation. Here are 3 easy ways to make a change:

  • Go reusable!

From grocery bags and utensils to water bottles and coffee cups, there are reusable replacements for almost all single-use plastics. Check out our Heal the Bay Shop for some ideas! If you’re ordering takeout or delivery, make sure to tell the restaurant “no plastic, please!” and use your own utensils instead. Check out Reusable LA and Habits of Waste for easy ways to help combat this issue, like sending an email to third party delivery companies asking them to make plastic cutlery and accessories optional rather than the default. If you’re unsure where to start, conduct a home waste audit to evaluate your daily habits and see where you can replace single-use items with reusables.

  • Pack it out. 

As a result of limited staff and the increased need to sanitize the bathrooms as a result of COVID-19, Los Angeles County Beaches & Harbors only has the capacity to empty the public trash cans once a day. Combined with the surge of beachgoers picnicking on the sand, this has led to an overwhelming problem of overflowing trash cans and increased beach litter. Similar issues have been observed throughout the County, so if you are enjoying our public spaces, make sure that all trash gets disposed of properly, and pack it out if trash cans are full.

  • Use your voice. 

Every single person has power! You influence the people close to you by voicing your opinion, you influence companies with the purchases you choose to make, and you can influence policy and legislation with your vote. The California bag ban is a good example of local change leading the charge and turning into statewide change, so don’t underestimate the power of advocating at your local City Council or with the County Board of Supervisors. At its core, plastic pollution is not a consumer problem; it’s a producer problem, and you can use your voice to support plastic policies that make plastic producers responsible for the waste they create.

Get Involved with Heal the Bay

We are excited with the results of Coastal Cleanup Month, but protecting our watersheds and coastline is an everyday effort. There are ways you can continue to stay involved and support our clean water mission year-round with different programs like Adopt-a-Beach, Club Heal the Bay, and MPA Watch. If you’re ready for more action to protect our oceans, join our virtual Volunteer Orientation on October 12. And don’t forget to save the date in September 2021 for next year’s Coastal Cleanup efforts!

 



The consumption of single-use plastic has surged exponentially during the pandemic. Safety concerns make it more challenging to use a reusable cup at our local coffee shop and many stores have policies that complicate bringing your own bag. With everything else in the world feeling a bit defeating, this is the perfect time to double down on what we can control.

One easy and simple way to make your lifestyle more sustainable is by conducting a quick waste audit. Waste audits are the perfect way to evaluate what we use in our day-to-day lives, see where we can replace single-use items with reusables, and get into the habit of buying fewer things made from non-degradable or non-recyclable materials.

So what exactly is a waste audit, and how do we get started? 

A waste audit is an analysis of the trash we produce in our own homes to take note of what is actually being disposed of. This gives us a better understanding of what we’re adding to the waste stream and allows us to get a snapshot of what we use, throw away, and recycle. Waste audits can also help us identify areas we want to improve in terms of consumption and use, and possibly inspire cost saving or upcycling ideas. 

Home waste adults are helpful tools that can bring more environmental awareness and change into our lives. 

Here’s our 5 step guide to a DIY waste audit: 

Audit Prep 

  1. Set a time:  Ask yourself, “how long do I want to do a trash audit?” Remember you can do a trash audit in one day or over the course of a few days. We recommend a 4-5 day window and choosing a date(s) you won’t have any special events to avoid skewing your audit data. Once you pick your start and end dates, set a reminder on your phone or mark your calendar to start your audit. 
  2. Grab a bin: Designate one trash bin in your home to collect waste items you use for your analysis. Make sure to separate out and rinse any containers that have any organic waste materials. Organic waste, like food scraps, won’t be counted in your audit.
  3. Collect trash: let your trash pile up until your designated time to evaluate. 

Evaluation 

  1. Grab supplies: You’ll need your now very full trash bin, something to take notes with, a tarp, and 15-30 mins of time. 
  2. Sort your trash: lay out your tarp and place all your trash on the tarp into categories. Examples include: “paper products,”  “recyclables,” “wrappers,” “miscellaneous,” etc. Tally your waste to document your results. If you want to take your waste analysis a step further use this form to help you categorize your home waste and use this guide or video to help you categorize products and attribute it to the brands that produced it.

When looking through your trash, try to answer these questions to understand the type of waste you’re producing:

  • Can you note how many of the items you’ve thrown away that can be recycled? Not all plastics are recyclable, even if it has a chasing arrows icon. Less than 10% of plastics are actually recyclable, and most will never be recycled. Watch this video to learn what each of the numbers between the chasing arrows icon on plastic containers actually mean.
  • What is your most commonly thrown out item? Is there anything that surprises you about what you collected? (Maybe you have an excess of packaging material, or a certain type of product. Perhaps a particular brand seems to use excessive packaging.) 
  • What items are necessary and what could be replaced with a reusable or more environmentally-friendly product? 
  • Besides recycling, what options do you have for disposal? (Can anything in your bin be composted, like cardboard?)  
  • How did you do? What did you discover? Are there any areas of improvements? What are some other alternatives?

Awareness is the first step. Action is power. Once we know more about our own personal consumption habits, we can make the change that best suits our needs and the environment.

If you want to take it a step further after your audit and challenge yourself, try refusing the top five sources of single-use plastic that we find most commonly on our beaches, parks, and streets.

 



Photo by Mayra Vasquez. Courtesy of Los Angeles County.

Beach Programs Manager Emely Garcia shares where marine debris and ocean pollution start, and how Heal the Bay uses community science, data collection, and science-based advocacy to develop solutions.

Ocean pollution begins at our front doors.  Each year thousands of pounds of trash and plastic waste are discharged through the storm drain system, ending up on our LA County beaches. Before trash makes its way into the storm drain system and on to the beaches, it litters our local streets, waterways, and parks, harming wildlife and impacting their habitats. Scientists estimate that about 80% of marine debris comes from our neighborhoods and communities.

To understand the problem of marine debris more completely, we need to collect local litter and pollution data in order to develop data-driven solutions. Now more than ever, we need remote support with data collection. We encourage curious, passionate Heal the Bay volunteers to take part in a DIY cleanup and data collection. Gathering valuable litter data around your neighborhood helps us continue to battle ocean-bound litter.

Photo by Venice Paparazzi. Courtesy of Dockweiler Youth Center and LA County Dept of Beaches & Harbors.

Heal the Bay uses our beach cleanup data to inform critical environmental and public policy. For example, in 2014, the City of Los Angeles’ plastic bag ban went into effect, following years of advocacy by our Science and Policy team. Thanks in part to that effort, we were able to implement a state-wide California bag ban in 2016, and eight more states have implemented bag bans since then. Since these bag bans went into effect, our data shows that the number of plastic bags picked up at cleanups has decreased drastically. This data makes a difference. With marine debris data and your help, we can continue to tackle clean water issues and toxic plastic pollution with science-based advocacy.

Turn the Tide: Tracking Data

If we want to see change, we need to combine personal action with collective action. Volunteers can participate in scientific research to fight ocean pollution by joining the community science marine debris data movement. Follow these steps to participate in community science on your next neighborhood walk.

 

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Get Involved

Heal the Bay has partnered with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to offer our official cleanup data cards digitally. With the Marine Debris Tracker app, you can capture location through GPS, record debris items, attach photos, and track statistics in real time. Join the thousands of community scientists from all over the world who have logged more than 2 million pieces of litter on the app.

To begin collecting valuable debris data in your community, download the mobile Marine Debris Tracker app on a smart phone or tablet through your app store or Google Play. Here are some helpful cleanup tips and step-by-step data tracking instructions to get you started:


Download

How to Track Data

Step 1. Decide where you will collect your data. Find a location that is accessible to you and walking distance from where you live. Open the Marine Debris Tracker app and select “Start Tracking”.

Step 2. Next, select the Heal the Bay icon from the list of partner organizations. Selecting Heal the Bay allows you to participate in local LA County marine debris tracking efforts. 

Cleanup Pro Tip –Gather your materials and stay safe

    • Cleanup supplies: A mask, work gloves, and an old bucket or bag to collect trash in.
    • Pack essentials: Pack items like a first aid kit, a filled reusable water bottle, and some of your favorite snacks to stay fueled and hydrated.
    • Watch our Cleanup Safety Video or read our Cleanup Safety Talk, and remember to NOT pick up anything you are not comfortable picking up.

Step 3. Once the Heal the Bay page is selected you will see a list of top community trackers. Log plenty of debris items and get your name to the top of the ranking list. You can also encourage family and friends to participate for some friendly competition. 

Cleanup Pro Tip-

    • Adhere to county guidelines and respect any recreational space closures.
    • Limit your cleanup group participants to only the people in your household to accommodate physical distancing and help reduce the spread of COVID-19. If you see other people while you are outside, make sure to stay at least 6 feet away.

Step 4. Track litter!  The icons in orange are debris categories you can hit the each category to bring up the list or scroll down to see all items listed on our digital data card. Be sure to hit the add button to track your find. 

Cleanup Pro Tip-

  • You can collect data for as long as you’d like. We recommend two hour cleanups. One hour going out, and one hour coming back to your start location. 
  • Be aware of the elements. Wear closed-toed shoes and protective sun gear, like sunglasses, a hat, and sunscreen. And stay hydrated with you reusable water bottle.

Step 5. Before submitting your data, enter in any details that might apply by filling out the Heal the Bay Volunteer survey. Here you can include details that apply to your group by checking the boxes or typing any information that may apply.  

Cleanup Pro Tip

    • After filling out the survey, submit your data by hitting save and toss your collected trash in the nearest waste receptacle. 

Remember, your observations could lead to the next breakthrough. Finding ways to take individual and community action makes the fight against pollution more effective. Thanks for tracking valuable debris data, and being a part of this amazing cleanup effort.

Learn more about our newly adapted Adopt-A-Beach cleanup program and challenge.

 



Beach Programs Manager, Emely Garcia, highlights how Heal the Bay is relaunching our Adopt-A-Beach cleanup program to be a safe, fun, and refreshing summer challenge.

For more than 20 years, Heal the Bay’s Adopt-A-Beach cleanup volunteers have worked together to keep LA County’s natural and coastal resources heathy and safe. Our Adopt-A-Beach program gives passionate volunteers the tools to lead independent cleanups, collect critical marine debris data, and actively participate in protecting what we love. Since mid-March, Heal the Bay has postponed all public cleanup programming to protect public health in response to COVID-19, and we look forward to hosting public cleanups once it is safer to gather.

With the start of summer, we’re excited to relaunch our official Adopt-A-Beach Program for individuals, families, and households that are eager to be a part of the solution to ocean pollution. Ocean pollution starts at our front doors, and local trash on our streets travels through the storm drain systems, creeks, and rivers to become beach and ocean pollution. Everyone can take part and help prevent ocean-bound trash by participating in local neighborhood cleanups. Heal the Bay volunteers have removed more than 2.5 million pounds of trash from L.A County beaches, rivers and neighborhoods. Our newly reimagined Adopt-A-Beach program is adapted to support you and your household to lead a safe and fun cleanup.

 

About the Official Adopt-A-Beach Program 

Our Adopt-A-Beach program originally began as an effort to protect our coastal resource, but Adopt-A-Beach volunteers are encouraged to participate at any location that needs TLC in LA County, such as a park, street, creek, or beach.  To participate in the Adopt-A-Beach program, a group needs to commit to cleaning up a favorite outdoor location three times in a year. The program is extremely flexible and allows participants to choose the day, time, and location of their cleanups. Plus, it’s a fun and active way to get involved community science research. (See our guidelines for more details*) 

What’s the incentive? 

  • Heal the Bay Educational resources and safety talk from Heal the Bay’s Speakers Bureau. 
  • Be a part of a community science effort to collect Marine Debris Data.
  • An official Heal the Bay Adoption Certificate upon completion of all three cleanups. 
  • Opportunity to be featured on Heal the Bay’s Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook.
  • TONS of kudos for leaving a special place outdoors better than you found it.

 So what are you waiting for? Take part in the official Adopt-A-Beach Summer Challenge today!  

View the Adopt-A-Beach Guide

Sign Up

 




Heal the Bay is proud to join Latino Outdoors and partners in the celebration of Latino Conservation Week, July 18- 26 2020.

Latino Conservation Week (LCW) is an annual initiative presented by the Hispanic Access Foundation to highlight the Latinx experience in outdoor stewardship and environmentalism. Since its launch in 2014, LCW has had tremendous growth across the country in the outdoor engagement and conservation advocacy by Latinx communities.

This week, community groups, environmental nonprofits, and agencies will host virtual and in-person events (where safe to do so) to support Latinx and Latino community getting into the outdoors and participating in activities to protect our natural resources. These events are for all ages and typically include hiking, camping, cleanups, and workshops that inspire participants to take part in protecting our land, water, and air and participate in larger conversations around current environmental issues.

How to Participate

This year, participation will take place safely and a lot of it will be online. Every day of the week invites a different call to action and we encourage you to join the conversation by following @LCW_National @HispanicAccess and @LatinoOutdoors on Twitter and @latinoconservationweek @hispanicaccess and @latinooutdoors on IG.

At Heal the Bay, we recognize that social and environmental issues are intrinsically linked. Historical injustices have led to inequitable access to the outdoors for communities of color. Heal the Bay is committed to fighting for environmental justice through our Science, Policy, and Outreach programs.

Currently, Heal the Bay is working to connect Latinx youth to their watersheds and ocean is through Gotitas Del Saber, our new bilingual/Spanish marine conservation educational series. The program includes regularly scheduled Spanish-language virtual webinar for students of all ages about science and the ocean. Join us live or explore past events.

Join us for Gotitas Del Saber

Why It’s Important

Beyond exploring the outdoors, Latino Conservation Week, at its core, is about outdoor connection, education, and cultural expression —and for many US-born Latin American-identifying youth and young adults, it’s a pathway and connection into outdoor advocacy and/or pursuing a degree in STEM through community support and mentorship.

For many Latin Americans, participating in conservation is an act of long-standing connection to nature. It’s a part of cultural preservation that involves nature-based solutions and practices that are deeply rooted in the Latin American cultural expression and identity. Protecting the health of our watershed, fighting for clean air, and protecting robust wildlife habitat is connected to century-old practices and traditions that continue through the enjoyment and protection of our open spaces.

Recent studies show that Hispanics/Latinxs express higher levels of environmental concern and have a higher willingness to engage in climate activism than white Americans, yet Latinos remain largely underrepresented in the environmental sector despite the support of environmental policies and efforts. Nevertheless, Latinx participation in the environmental field and movement is critical to the growth of outdoor equity, solving the climate crisis through science and community solutions, mobilizing communities for environmental justice, and inspiring the next generation of environmental stewards.

 

 



Emely Garcia, our Beach Programs Manager, rounds up some do-it-yourself activities to celebrate Earth Month while continuing to practice physical distancing.

Did you know that 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day? Amidst all of the changes, we are thinking of ways we can celebrate during the entire month of April, and hope you are too.

If you are looking for an impactful activity for you and those in your household to get involved in, we suggest a DIY cleanup and scavenger hunt in your neighborhood. The supplies are minimal, it’s a great way to get some physical activity nearby, and you can leave a spot in your community better than you found it.

I’ve rounded up some tips and instructions for a DIY neighborhood cleanup, a neighborhood scavenger hunt, and more ways to get involved below. Happy Earth Month 2020!

Neighborhood Cleanup

Before Starting Your Cleanup:

1. Gather Materials

  • Cleanup supplies: work gloves to protect your hands and an old bucket or bag to collect trash are the perfect tools for a successful cleanup. Please do not pick up trash if you are not wearing gloves.
  • Protection from the elements: Sun protective gear, such as a hat and sunglasses, and breathable clothing is highly recommended.
  • Activity essentials: Pack a few essentials like a first aid kit, a filled reusable water bottle, and some of your favorite snacks to stay safe and hydrated.
  • Trash tracking tools: Download the Marine Debris Tracker App on your mobile device or print out our Cleanup Data Card and take a pencil to track your finds.

2. Safety First

  • Watch our Cleanup Safety Video or read our Cleanup Safety Talk aloud to your cleanup crew. Have a brief discussion at the end to ensure that everyone understands the safety tips, and what not to pick up. DO NOT pick up medical waste, hazardous waste, gloves, masks, syringes, needles, sharp objects, condoms, tampons, waste materials, etc.
  • Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly once you’ve returned home.
  • Limit your cleanup group participants to only the people in your household to accommodate physical distancing and help reduce the spread of COVID-19. If you see other people while you are outside, make sure to stay at least 6 feet away. If you or someone in your household feels sick, please stay home.

3. Pick Your Site (please check for park, beach, and trail closures)

  • Adhere to county guidelines and respect closures and find a cleanup site that is accessible for you and everyone in your household and within walking distance from where you live. See the latest status on beach and beach facility closures in LA County.
  • Some of the best cleanup locations could be your neighborhood block, park, creek, or trail with a waste receptacle or trash can nearby.
  • When you find a site, make sure you take a photo before your cleanup effort.
  • Remember that all storm drains lead to out the ocean, and leading a neighborhood cleanup helps prevent ocean-bound trash from ever making its way down the storm drain. That makes you and your loved ones ocean protectors!
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After Your Neighborhood Cleanup:

    • Take photos of your family members getting the job done. 
    • Snap some final photos of what your site looks like after the cleanup.
    • Dump your collected trash at the nearest waste receptacle or trash can, and celebrate your work! 
    • Share your photos and finds by tagging us @healthebay and using the hashtag #healthebay. 
    • Give each other kudos for being a part of an amazing cleanup effort.

 

Neighborhood Scavenger Hunt

While this is a fun activity for all ages, we know that the little ones will especially love it. The possibilities for neighborhood scavenger hunts are endless, but here are a few of my favorite ideas for your next neighborhood walk or cleanup together:

Things To Spot

  1. Bicycle
  2. Flowers
  3. Art or a mural 
  4. Stop sign 
  5. Something blue like the ocean or the sky
  6. Out of state license plate 
  7. Songbird
  8. Mailbox 
  9. Tiny bug
  10. Storm drain 

Things To Clean Up

  1. Snack bags or candy wrappers
  2. Cups or lids
  3. Plastic utensils
  4. Cigarette butts
  5. Glass bottles
  6. Aluminum cans
  7. Soda cans
  8. Balloons 
  9. Plastic bags
  10. Plastic pieces 

Things to avoid: sharp objects, heavy objects. If you find something that needs to be picked up by city officials. Call 311 to report bulk items.


More Ways to Get Involved



Emely Garcia, nuestra Gerente de Programas de Playas, resume algunas actividades que podemos hacer para celebrar el Mes de la Tierra mientras continuamos con las  prácticas  de distanciamiento físico.

¿Sabías que 2020 marca el 50 aniversario del Día de la Tierra? En medio de todos los cambios, estamos pensando en todas las formas  que podamos celebrarlo durante todo el mes de abril.

Si estás buscando una actividad impactante para tí y los miembros de tu hogar, te sugerimos una limpieza y un juego de buscar el tesoro en tu vecindario. Los suministros son mínimos, es una excelente manera de realizar alguna actividad física, y puede obtener una comunidad bella y limpia mejor  de la que encontró.

He reunido algunos consejos e instrucciones para una limpieza de vecindario, una búsqueda de tesoro y más formas de involucrarse a continuación. ¡Feliz mes de la Tierra 2020!

Limpieza de barrio

Antes de comenzar tu limpieza:

1. Reúne materiales

  • Suministros de limpieza: guantes de trabajo para proteger tus manos y una cubeta o bolsa para recoger la basura son las herramientas perfectas para una limpieza exitosa. No recojas la basura si no usas guantes.
  • Protección: se recomienda usar equipo de protección solar, como sombreros, gafas de sol, y ropa transpirable.
  • Elementos esenciales: Empacar un botiquín de primeros auxilios, una botella de agua reutilizable llena y algunos de tus refrigerios favoritos para mantenerte seguro e hidratado.
  • Herramientas de rastreo de basura: descarga la aplicación Marine Debris Tracker App en tu dispositivo móvil o imprime nuestra tarjeta de datos de limpieza  Cleanup Data Card y toma un lápiz para rastrear tus hallazgos.

2. Seguridad primero

  • Mira nuestro Video de seguridad de limpieza  Cleanup Safety Video o lee nuestra Seguridad de limpieza  Cleanup Safety. Habla en voz alta con tu equipo de limpieza. Ten una breve discusión al final para asegurarte de que todos entienden los consejos de seguridad y lo que no se debe recoger. NO recojas desechos médicos, desechos peligrosos, guantes, máscaras, jeringas, agujas, objetos punzantes, condones, tampones, materiales de desecho, etc.
  • Asegúrete de lavarte bien las manos una vez que hayas regresado a casa.
  • Limita a los participantes de tu grupo de limpieza solo a las personas de tu hogar para acomodar el distanciamiento físico y ayudar a reducir la propagación de COVID-19. Si ves a otras personas mientras estás afuera, asegúrate de permanecer al menos a 6 pies de distancia. Si tú o alguien en tu hogar se siente enfermo, quédate en casa.

3. Elije tu sitio (verifica el cierre de parques, playas y senderos)

  • Adhiérete a las pautas del condado y respeta los cierres y encuentra un sitio de limpieza que sea accesible para tí y todos los miembros de tu hogar.
  • Algunos de los mejores lugares de limpieza podría ser la cuadra de tu vecindario, parque, arroyo o  sendero con recipientes de basura cercano.
  • Cuando encuentresun sitio, asegúrete de tomar una foto antes de tu limpieza.
  • Recuerda que todos los desagües pluviales conducen al océano, y llevar a cabo una limpieza del vecindario ayuda a evitar que la basura con destino al océano llegue al drenaje pluvial. ¡Eso te convierte a tí y a tus seres queridos en los defensores del océano!
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Después de la limpieza de tu vecindario:

    • Toma fotos de los miembros de tu familia realizando el trabajo.
    • Toma algunas fotos finales de cómo se ve tu sitio después de la limpieza.
    • ¡Tira la basura colectada en el recipiente de basura más cercano y celebra tu trabajo!
    • Comparte tus fotos y hallazgos etiquetándonos @healthebay y usando el hashtag #healthebay.
    • Felicítense por ser parte de un increíble esfuerzo de limpieza.

 

Búsqueda del tesoro del vecindario

Si bien esta es una actividad divertida para todas las edades, sabemos que a los pequeños les encantará. Las posibilidades de búsqueda del tesoro en el vecindario son infinitas, pero estas son algunas de mis ideas favoritas para tu próxima caminata o limpieza del vecindario:

Cosas para detectar

  1. bicicleta
  2. flores
  3. Arte o un mural
  4. Señal de Stop
  5. Algo azul como el océano o el cielo
  6. Placas vehiculares de difernte estado
  7. Pájaros cantores
  8. Buzón
  9. Insectos pequeños
  10. Drenaje pluvial

Cosas para limpiar

  1. Bolsas para refrigerios o envoltorios de dulces
  2. Tazas o tapas
  3. Utensilios plásticos
  4. Colillas de cigarrillo
  5. Botellas de vidrio
  6. Latas de aluminio
  7. Latas de refresco
  8. Globos
  9. Bolsas plásticas
  10. Piezas de plástico

Cosas a evitar: objetos afilados, objetos pesados. Si encuentras algo que debe ser recogido por funcionarios de la ciudad, llama al 311 para informar.


Más formas de involucrarte

  • Conviértete en voluntario de Heal the Bay y asiste a nuestra Orientación virtual para voluntarios Volunteer Orientation en este Mes de la Tierra.
  • Regístrate para nuestras limpiezas de playa beach cleanups este verano.
  • Guarda la fecha Coastal Cleanup Month 2020. 
  • Haz un regalo del Día de la Tierra para mejorar la bahía y dona Donate.