Experience LA with Maggie McKay (audio)

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By Maggie McKay, KFWB afternoon news anchor

Maggie McKayWith the mission of making Southern California waters safe, healthy and clean, local environmental group Heal the Bay is calling for Angelenos to join the world’s largest single-day volunteer event – the 23rd annual Coastal Cleanup Day to be held Saturday, September 15 from 9 a.m.-noon.

Eveline Bravo Coastal Cleanup Manager for Heal the Bay tells about the next chance you’ve got to help clean up your world.

Learn more:

Heal the Bay has mobilized volunteers for Los Angeles County’s Coastal Cleanup Day (CCD) since 1990, offering environmentally concerned citizens a chance to do something tangible to improve their communities. In addition, many Angelenos have used the day to enjoy the outdoors together. This year’s effort will feature volunteers kayaking, mountain biking and Scuba diving to remove debris from local beaches, rivers, parks and streets. Professional wrestler Blue Demon, Jr. is also scheduled to make an appearance at the Lake Balboa Park cleanup site in Van Nuys.

Approximately 60 coastal and inland cleanup sites will be manned, spanning close to 100 square miles. No special training or equipment is necessary. However, Heal the Bay encourages volunteers to go Zero Waste and bring their own buckets, reusable bags and gloves to pick up trash.

As part of a global effort, Coastal Cleanup Day volunteers around the world last year collected enough food packaging to get takeout for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day for the next 858 years, according to the Ocean Conservancy, which spearheads CCD worldwide each year.

In Los Angeles last year, more than 11,000 volunteers removed 44,000 pounds of debris. Litter is unsightly and also unhealthy. An estimated 80% of L.A. litter that ends up in the ocean starts out on land, poisoning marine life, spoiling water quality and public health as it wreaks havoc on our ecosystem and our local economies.

In addition to an appearance by luchador Blue Demon, Jr., this year’s Coastal Cleanup Day highlights include a cleanup at the historic African American Bay Street Beach in Santa Monica, sometimes known as the “Inkwell.” The city beach site was a popular hangout for African Americans in the County of Los Angeles from the 1920s to the early 1960s, long after racial restrictions on public beaches were invalidated in 1927. Santa Monica Conservancy docents will educate volunteers about the history of the site. Volunteers will also learn about environmental concerns at Bay Street Beach. The first 100 people who volunteer at this site will receive a free ticket to the Jazz for the Environment Concert at EarthFest L.A. 2012 at 2 p.m. in Culver City at West L.A. College.

SCUBA-certified divers will get a chance to clear underwater debris at dive sites at Leo Carrillo State Beach, Redondo Beach and the Santa Monica and Malibu piers. Kayakers are welcome to join the Santa Monica Bay Restoration for a kayak cleanup in Marina del Rey, with registration required.

New for 2012, a mountain bike site, co-sponsored by Mountains Restoration Trust, where cyclists can help haul out junk from an area in the Malibu Creek Watershed that’s difficult to reach on foot.

An online map of all cleanup sites with registration information can be found at http://www.healthebay.org/ccd2012

In addition there will be three Code Red cleanup sites this year. Huge swaths of Los Angeles County drain to these highly urbanized sites, which are swamped with tons of harmful trash and debris, such as plastic bags. Volunteers can make a huge impact at these “Code Red” locations, which this year include: Dominguez Channel (Artesia Transit Center and Wilmington Marinas) and Ken Malloy Harbor Regional Park.

Heal the Bay seeks volunteers of all ages and physical abilities; no experience necessary. Site captains will organize a diverse mix of individuals, families, neighborhoods, community groups, schools, faith-based groups, sports teams and businesses. To sign up, please visit http://ccd12.eventbrite.com/.

About Coastal Cleanup Day

Heal the Bay organizes Coastal Cleanup Day in Los Angeles County in partnership with the California Coastal Commission. The L.A. campaign is part of a global international event led by the Ocean Conservancy. Last year in California, 67, 958 volunteers removed 676,768 pounds of trash and 115,773 pounds of recyclable waste.

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