My name is Michael Angelo Caballero and I participated in FOLAR's L.A. River clean up event on April 22, 2017 which as many of you know was also Earth Day. I attended this event for Professor Hernandez's English 2030 Course. Personally I have never attended a public clean up event such as this one, but I have had my share of trying to save and preserve our Earth, its resources, and its beauty. I have protested against construction of a parking lot and building over a nature center in my own community so when our Professor told us about this event, I was definitely looking forward to it, except for the heat that hit on that weekend. After I received my gloves and bag from FOLAR and step foot onto the riverbed, it reminded me of a more intense version of my local river back home (the San Gabriel River) which I have spent a lot of time roaming with friends in my childhood and current life. The San Gabriel River has its share of trash but nothing compared to the LA River. My classmates and I saw all kinds of different trash ranging from plastic to e-waste to even car parts! We found enough bicycle parts to practically build a whole bicycle from scratch! Something I noticed while we were cleaning up was the fact that trees and vegetation was getting pushed by the river water when the current was strong and tall, and all the trash was getting tangled into those plants and trees, making it nearly impossible to take our every little piece of trash in the vegetation. Trash had clearly become a part of the river, and cleaning some of it up was almost like trying to tear someone's limb off. Even so, you could still find a sense of beauty and art in the river, from the homeless trying everything in their power to survive to multiple cairns I found while cleaning the river. I connected this experience to the documentary we watched in class about plastic in our oceans and the damage it is causing. It made me reflect heavily because I saw so much plastic in the riverbed that would've gone to the ocean.
|Cairns in the riverbed|
|Capturing a view of the riverbed without trash|
|Reusable bags were found. Ah the irony.|