Gun is found at beach cleanup
January 3, 2020
L.A. COUNTY: Spray paint cans and a light saber also turn up when volunteers collect 73,722 pounds of trash. By Josh Grossberg STAFF WRITER With gloves, bags and even scuba gear, hundreds of people swept South Bay beaches gathering tons of trash Saturday. “Anything that drops in the street comes to ocean,” said Julie Profet with Heal the Bay, the environmental group that sponsors the event. Most of the bigger items were carted off in the early years of the cleanup, but scuba divers still kept a watchful eye out for anything unusual. Not much surprises them anymore. In previous years, they’ve found bicycles, toilets, Hindu deity figurines, teddy bears and a jar filled with molasses. Although this year’s haul wasn’t as dramatic, it’s still vital to get rid of the plastic bags and pieces of foam that litter the coast, Schaar said. “It’s not as much fun, but it’s important,” she said. “Animals can mistake it for food.” Mark Gold, president of Heal the Bay, said inland communities were added to the list of participating areas 10 years ago when organizers realized that most of the ocean’s trash wasn’t coming from coastal areas. Last year, more than 80 percent of the 70,000 pounds of trash collected during the cleanup in Los Angeles County came from the inland communities. “All of L.A. County is in a watershed, and all the trash on the ground goes into the rivers that then flow into San Pedro and Long Beach,” Gold said. “By focusing on the beach communities, we were missing the point.” The extra push inland brought a record number of volunteers. This year, 11,020 people joined in, up from 9,765 last year. They gathered 73,722pounds of trash, including what appeared to be a .357 Magnum handgun at Dockweiler State Beach (police were immediately called), a rosary in Manhattan Beach and pieces of a guitar on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, said Heal the Bay’s Matthew King. But in addition to the trash that was collected, King said that it was good for people to learn the importance of keeping litter away from the ocean. “Our message is spreading inland,” he said. “Even if they live miles from the beach, people have a vested interest in its health and well-being.” [email protected] Staff writer Connie Llanos contributed to this article.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! But at the 23rd annual California Coastal Cleanup Day, workers had some extra help: The Force. Among the sundry pieces of plastic, fishing line and cigarette butts, divers found an abandoned Star Wars light saber in the waters off the Redondo Beach pier. Elsewhere in Los Angeles, volunteers found a handgun, a doorless safe, a wedding dress and, at Ken Malloy Regional Park in Harbor City, exactly 2,083 empty or partially used cans of spray paint. “We also found a lot of cell phones and (fishing) knives,” said volunteer supervisor Rachel Schaar. Volunteers worked at about 70spots across the county – some of them miles away from the ocean. But litter can quickly wind up at the coast through the area’s fast network of storm drains.