The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

Lending a helping hand

Driving up to the calm, serene beach on a Saturday morning, a person may think that there is nothing there but sand and water.

However, 10 days ago, more than 300 people were at Dockweiler State Beach in Playa Del Rey to participate in the “Nothin’ But Sand” beach cleanup that was sponsored by Heal the Bay.

“From a distance, the beach may seem clean,” Bill Dabies, from Summit Entertainment Company, said. “But there are bits and pieces of trash and debris all around.”

The organization originally began as a group of people outraged that the city of Los Angeles was dumping sewage into Santa Monica Bay.

Since then, Heal the Bay has turned into an organization founded by Dorothy Green, known around the state for helping to improve the quality of Southern California beaches.

“I commend Heal the Bay for doing a wonderful job in its public relations department,” Bill Griffiths, former volunteer and beach captain of Heal the Bay, said. “The word has gotten out.”

‘Nothin’ but Sand’ is a beach cleanup that is organized by Heal the Bay on the third Saturday of every month.

Volunteer applications are not a requirement and people can stay as long as they please.

“Beach cleanups get better after each event,” Boun Prascrt, coordinator, said. “We always have different people getting involved. Occasionally, we have more than 650 people in attendance, and that’s not including our own volunteers and staff.”

After rain storms, Heal the Bay organizes emergency cleanups.

The organization receives reports of the beaches most affected by storm runoff, and then it goes about organizing its members to clean up as much of the effected beach as possible.

Seven of the 10 most polluted beaches were located in L.A. County, according to the 17th Annual Beach Report Card for 2006-2007.

Long Beach beaches were reported to have the worst water quality.

“Due to better organization, beach cleanups have evolved tremendously,” Griffiths said.

Griffiths, who was a former beach captain with Heal the Bay for three years and volunteered for one year prior to that, attended 99 percent of the beach cleanups at one point during his membership.

“One of the major functions of Heal the Bay is to educate people about the environment,” Griffiths said. “Heal the Bay has made the connection with the public through the airwaves, newspapers and schools from all around California.”

Another way Heal the Bay preserves Southern California beaches is through the Adopt-A-Beach program: The organization provides supplies needed to clean up the beach

“It’s not hard to find our organization or to become involved,” Prascrt said

In honor of Earth Day on April 22, the Recycling Coalition on campus will put together an Earth Day Fair and Heal the Bay will be involved.

Invitations will be extended to organizations including Heal the Bay, Surf Rider and L.A Harbor to participate in the event along with other clubs and organizations on campus.

“I noticed many small particles embedded in the sand. They’re not very noticeable at first, but they’re there,” Oliver Plagata, 21, pharmacy major and member of the academic honor society Alpha Gamma Sigma, said.

“People need to take a look around and realize how dirty our beaches really are,” she said.

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