This Saturday the West L.A. chapter of the Surfrider Foundation is hosting a cleanup of Santa Monica’s most polluted beach as part of the Barefoot Beach Rescue Project.
The project, a partnership between the Surfrider Foundation and Barefoot Wine, is designed to increase the size and effectiveness of Surfrider’s existing beach cleanups. It began in 2007 and in the past eight years 135 cleanups have been held involving over 12,000 volunteers.
On Saturday, July 18 at 9 a.m., the two will collaborate again to clean up Santa Monica Pier Beach, one of Heal the Bay’s top 10 “beach bummers.” Following the cleanup there will be a celebration at The Bungalow on Wilshire Boulevard organized by the Surfrider Foundation.
“We anticipate having several hundred volunteers forming a garbage line to clear the beach on Saturday,” said spokesman Toby Nelson. He added that actress Nikki Reedwillbe participating in the cleanup.
Santa Monica is one of two beaches the Barefoot Beach Rescue Project is targeting this year, the other being Huntington Beach.
“Last week we did Huntington Beach,” said Nelson. “There we had 267 volunteers from as far north as Vancouver participate in a cleaning that cleared 482.6 pounds of garbage.”
Despite the city’s best efforts, the Santa Monica Pier beach has been notoriously polluted for years. Bird netting has been installed to prevent feces from contaminating the water, but it is constantly tearing and has proved difficult to maintain.
The city also attempted to change the contour of the beach under the pier to prevent the buildup of bacteria in pools of ocean water that are dragged back into the sea at high tide.
But despite these endeavors the beach remains one of California’s dirtiest. However, the Barefoot Beach Rescue Project is looking to change that.
“In the future, the Surfrider Foundation’s West L.A. chapter has several programs that are ongoing or planned, which will have a direct impact on beach quality in Santa Monica,” Nelson said.
“The chapter is developing a program called Ocean Friendly Restaurants that promotes the most environmentally conscious eateries in town and encourages others to reduce their impact by eliminating single-use plastics from their waste stream. The chapter is working with the L.A. County Board of Supervisors to develop legislation that would ban EPS [expanded polystyrene aka Styrofoam] food containers in unincorporated L.A. County.”
Surfrider and Barefoot Wine will continue to host beach cleanups, like the event this Saturday, in Santa Monica and the greater L.A. and Malibu areas.