Join Earth

Make a

Operation Beach Rescue

Saturday, 24 January 2004

Marina Green Park, Shoreline Dr./Linden Ave
downtown Long Beach

Sponsored by the Sierra Club, Earth Resource & Adopt-a-Beach program

Time collected: 1 hour (average)

Number of People: 50

Represented: Los Alamitos HS, Anaheim Hills HS, La Quinta HS,
Jordan HS, Cerritos High School, Westminster HS, Wilson HS

Number of bags collected: 20-25

The goal of Operation Beach Rescue was to educate the students about the sources of marine pollution and empower them to reduce their impact on beach and marine ecosystems.

Speakers from Heal the Bay and the Algalita Marine Research Foundation gave presentations about the most common sources of marine pollution of LA's residential population:

  • household chemicals such as Drano, Clorox bleach and paint dumped down drains
  • trash, pet manure, lawn chemicals and oil getting washed into the city's storm drains
  • partially treated sewage escaping into the ocean

Plastics pose a particularly challenging problem because they do not photo- or bio-degrade over time and can persist in the environment for up to 500 years! A study conducted by the Algalita Research Foundation found that ocean water samples collected several hundred miles off the California coast contained 6 pounds of plastic for every 1 pound of plankton, the ocean's primary food source! Marine animals can mistake small particles of plastic for food, such as krill, which can injure or even kill the animals. Turtles eat plastic bags mistaking them for their favorite food, jellyfish. The bags can get lodged in the turtles' throats and kill them. Plastic six-pack rings used for soda and beer can get lodged around the necks of baby seals and birds. As these animals grow they become choked by the rings and often die. A gyre, or eddy, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, the size of the U.S. and Canada, contains hundreds of thousands of square miles of floating plastic that has accumulated since plastics were first manufactured. A little-known source of this plastic landscape is the nearly 10,000 containers per year that fall off of cargo ships transporting goods from Asia to the U.S. The only possible actions to stem the accumulation are to stop the release of plastics into the marine environment and to develop truly biodegradable plastic.

In the meantime, the speakers gave tips on what individuals can do to mitigate their impact on beach and marine pollution:

  • use non-toxic household chemicals such as Seventh Generation, better for the environment and better for you!
  • use paper bags instead of plastic for groceries, or better yet, bring your own canvas bags
  • pick up after your pet
  • minimize your use of lawn/garden chemicals
  • dispose of your motor oil at a local oil change shop
  • bring household chemicals, including paint, to your city's hazardous waste center
  • cut up six-pack rings before disposal
  • be a good role model and educate your family, friends and community


Nicole Peill of Long Beach Sierra Club giving introductions to the participants.
Participants cleaning up the beach.
A poster reminding us why we need to clean up the beach.
Operation Beach Rescue volunteer.
One student group standing proudly next to the trash they picked up.
Students from Anaheim Hills High School during Operation Beach Rescue.
Operation Beach Rescue volunteers with their loot.
Operation Beach Rescue volunteers from Cerritos High School.
Some students with all of their collected trash bags!
One student looking at what he found on the beach.
Look at all the trash we picked up in one hour in Long Beach!

Thank You:

A special thank you to our guest speakers:
Meredith McCarthy, Heal The Bay
Gordon Lehman, Algalita Marine Research Foundation

Thank you to French's Bakery, SunFlour Bakery for keeping us fed during our clean up.

A special thank you to the Hyatt Regency, especially the Director of Catering Nancy Monte-Fry, for graciously donating the use of one of their meeting rooms and audio visual equipment.

Also, we would like to give a big thanks to the City of Long Beach for providing us with free parking for the day.

In addition, the El Dorado Nature Center, in particular Christopher Ward and Mary Blackburn, assisted us with Adopt-a-Beach sponsorship and provided gloves.

Thank you to the volunteers who came out to support a great event and to encourage environmental stewardship among the youth:

Beth Barnes
Jill and Rod DeJager
Sharon De Luna
Gordon LaBedz
Dave Fribush
Seth and Trish King
Diana Mann
Dennis Martz
Judith Naimi-Yadzi
Robert Palmer
Art Pegg
Molly Raine
Dan Williams

And of course, Thank You all who attended and had a great time cleaning up the beach and learning about the various environmental topics.

One huge Thank You goes out to Nicole Peill of Long Beach Sierra Club who did a fantastic job getting this all together!!!!

The Circle
ERF's newsletter


"In the end, we will conserve only what we love. We only love what we understand. We only understand what we are taught."
-Babia Dioum Senegalese Ecologist

230 E. 17th Street, Suite 208 Costa Mesa, CA 92627  |  Tel:(949) 645-5163  |  Fax:(949) 645-5173  |  e-mail: