By LILY TINOCO | Reporter
Community members have expressed their concerns of trash found locally and on area beaches, leaving them with a lingering question: What can we do to help?
Palisadian Cheyne McClellan has recently taken action regarding the noticeable increase in trash and litter throughout Los Angeles’ city, hills and beaches by writing to various departments and Mayor Eric Garcetti.
“I’ve noticed it more recently and I definitely think it’s progressively getting worse,” McClellan said to the Palisadian-Post. “I don’t know what has created the increase in the trash situation, but it appears to be worse all over. Trash is scattered everywhere, and now there are items that were not as common before COVID, such as masks and gloves, which has exacerbated the situation”
Locally founded environmental organization Resilient Palisades participated in Coastal Cleanup Day in September, coordinated by Santa Monica-based environmental organization Heal the Bay. Data reports show that single-use personal protective equipment made it on the top 10 items found by volunteers for the first time ever in 2020.
“Through our data, we can clearly see the effects of the pandemic on our waste stream,” according to Heal the Bay.
Nicole Mooradian, public information officer at the LA Department of Beaches and Harbors, told the Post excess trash at the beaches may be due to pandemic-related financial decisions.
LA County faced severe budget cuts at the wake of the novel coronavirus and at the start of the pandemic, leading to a hiring freeze. Beaches and Harbors was unable to hire seasonal ground maintenance workers and was left with a lower staffing level.
This doesn’t allot the current crew much time to pick up the tideline or parking lots.
“With all [the] restroom cleaning plus additional trash, it got to the point where we literally don’t have the resources, we don’t have the people and we don’t have the time to run an additional pick-up per day,” Mooradian said.
And without the resources for maintenance, trash begins to spread quickly.
“A lot of [people] aren’t leaving their trash out just to litter, people are putting [trash] in the bins, but the bins start overflowing and once the lids can’t shut, you’ll get seagulls and they’ll start pulling everything out,” Mooradian said. “It’s a whole lot of factors that have just made things difficult.”
Mooradian said Beaches and Harbors appreciates any help the public offers.
“Right now, due to current Public Health orders, you can’t grab a few friends and go … but if you’re taking a walk on the beach, pick up a few pieces of trash while you’re there,” she said.
Resilient Palisades is currently working on initiatives to reduce plastic and other waste items in Pacific Palisades. Its Zero Waste Team is one of four teams working on ways to reduce humanity’s ecological footprint as a community.
Resilient Palisades encouraged Palisadians to remember that much of the trash on the streets and beaches is a result of single-use items, often plastics, and to reject single use items as much as possible.
“This includes remembering to bring reusable bags to the grocery store, advocating that coffee shops start to allow reusable cups again, and rejecting plastic cutlery and paper napkins from restaurant take-out,” Co-Founder and Board President Ingrid Steinberg said to the Post.
McClellan shared hope to see change soon.
“If you look anywhere … you see trash, and that affects everybody, it truly does,” McClellan said. “I have three young children and it breaks my heart to think if the trash is this bad now, what will it be like for them 20 years from now when they’re all adults?”
For additional resources or to help with these efforts, visit resilientpalisades.org.
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