Many people who know me are aware that I am a very spoiled child who prefers everything to be clean. So even though the cleanup was a good experience, it was also a very gross one.
The river smelled very questionable. Then again, I have been a city girl all my life so perhaps that is just how rivers smell in general and I had no idea about this 'natural river scent'. There were so many different pieces of trash embedded within the river bank. There was one instance where I attempted to pull up a wheel sticking out of the sand but was unable to because it was a shopping cart completely buried the sand. There were also many plastic bags within the trees and other foliage and they were meshed into the plant itself.
My professor actually stated that this had been the dirtiest she had ever seen the river after many years of going to FOLAR cleanups due to the increased rainfall this past year. This event really made me think about where trash goes after someone just dumps it onto the streets. Stuffed animals, golf balls, CD's, charger cables, and computer RAMs were all found scattered across this river. Why weren't people deposing of their trash properly? Why did they think their littering didn't affect that environment? Why isn't there more events like this to help improve the city? Then I thought about myself and all of the one use plastic bottles I use, how many things I do not recycle, how many plastic bags I use so asked myself: why aren't I doing something to make a difference?
I felt very bad about this as I saw so many different people working to help make the LA River look like an actual river instead of a dump site. After an hour I returned to the original spot where I started to clean when I had first arrived only to find that there was barely any trash to pick up. The hard work and dedication of FOLAR and all of the volunteers made the city of Los Angeles that much more great and made me really happy that I went to this event.