Sunday, May 10, 2009

LA river clean-up

I participated in the 20th Annual LA Gran Limpieza-Great LA River Cleanup this weekend and was appalled by the number of plastic...guess what?....straws(!) that I picked up. Plastic straw really are my nemesis! I didn’t expect so many straws. Of course I picked up a lot of plastic bags, food wrappers, some computer/electronic cords, a few barrettes, and other miscellaneous plastic and other trash, but I was really surprised by how many straws I picked up. I have had it in for straws since day one of this year of plastic reduction. I picked up more straws out of the river basin in two hours on Saturday than I have turned down in restaurants this whole year. I have become notorious for saying "No straw" when I am out to eat and this is the very reason why straws are the epitome of one-time use plastic waste. Ugh! After plastic bags straws would be the next plastic item I would like to see banned.

Of course plastic was consumed in this cleanup effort...plastic gloves for protection, plastic bags for collecting garbage, and they had water in plastic bottles of volunteers. I used the gloves and cleanup bag, but no plastic encased water for me.

It was nice to get out to the LA river and really see it up close. You may know the LA "river" as the great paved basin that it is portrayed in movies like Grease, Terminator 2, and many many others. It was nice to see it is not all concrete and trash. There is wildlife—plants, birds, insects, crawdads—and not all parts of the river are completely paved. Some parts of the river are down right pretty. The river certainly does need a good cleaning though, it is by no means sit-by-the-shore-for-a-picnic ready in most parts (and probably never will be). All in all I'm glad I was reminded that this river has a unique ecosystem that needs loving care stupid straws are.


Laura said...

awesome work! do u use any straw alternative.. like glass or bamboo straws? or are you just a no straw person all together?

plasticfreela said...

Hi Laura,
I usually just go for no straw, but I do have some glass straws from GlassDharma that I like to use.