Sunday, April 23, 2017

FOLAR (ENGL 2030 Prof. Hernandez) by Wilfred Christian Santiago Castillo

Hello my name is Wilfred Castillo. I am currently attending California State University Los Angeles and majoring in Civil Engineering. I recently volunteered in river clean-up event hosted by FOLAR, or known as Friends of the Los Angeles River. I was made aware of this event by my ENGL 2030 professor, Professor Ximena Hernandez. During the event I was able to partly assist in the handing-out of the "clean-up" plastic bags. I honestly was surprised by the amount of people that came to the event despite the the above average warm temperature. A little while after passing out the plastic bags, I began to actually pick up trash in the river. The location that we were cleaning up in was a location I actually see on a regular basis. This was due to me living about a five minute drive from the site. I never knew it was so polluted until I actually took a closer look. I thought the materials that would be left there would only be pieces of plastics that flew down from the freeway. However, once I actually had a close-up experience with the river, then I knew those LA River information in class weren't the "rarities". It turns plastics are only part of the pollution in the river. There are actually many pieces of metal in the river. And this was not just pieces that come from one shopping cart, but from other metals as well. It was hard to determine where these pieces came from because of the way that the metal pieces were bent and deteriorated (very rusty). If I wasn't careful, I would literally would have had a good chance of getting tetanus if  I got cut with of those pieces. No only did I find metals, but I also found a couple of fully intact, although a little dirty and scratched, clothes. One of those clothes would be a pair of denim jeans. The hardest part of the clean up was trying the pluck out the pollution that intertwined together. For example, vines/twigs, metals, plastics, and fabrics would intertwine into a pile. These "piles" are not small, but rather very large. Within those piles, I can see all those materials mixed in together.. And it was very difficult in removing the trash because they were so compact. Now I know why society actually needs to step in and clean up the pollution. These are the objects that float through Los Angeles and the ocean. Honestly, I am more concerned about the bacteria and chemicals that these pollution will release into our local waters because those are the things that can directly harm us. And if these things can harm us, it would make the environment and wildlife more susceptible. I believe that this was a good experience for me since it actually made me care about what is going on with my city. I am striving to be a civil engineer, and coming up ways to fix these types of issues is a job that civil engineers do. I feel that my experience during the clean up has broadened my view specific fields that CEs can work in. I learned during class that the LA River is connected to the drainage systems in streets across the city. And these how many of the trash is disposed in the river. Maybe in the future, I can even participate in a project that filters all the trash out before heading to the river.

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