Sunday, April 23, 2017

L.A. River Clean up with FOLAR

Hello everyone, my name is Jaime Estrada Jr. I am currently enrolled as a freshman at Cal State Los Angeles, taking English 2030 Sec 08 with Professor Hernandez. As part of our Service learning assignment my class chose to actively participate with Friends of The Los Angeles River (FOLAR) to help preserve our L.A. River on Earth Day. FOLAR is a organization whose vision is to sustain the Los Angeles River for the community and the animal,s so that 10 years from now the L.A. River can coexist for both recreation and wildlife. For this cleanup, I persuaded my dad and older brother to accompany me to this cleanup. Once there FOLAR supplied us with gloves, a FOLAR shirt, and a plastic bag and then we were soon off to work.

My brother (left) and dad (right) enjoying the shade before the clean up. 
Initially the cleanup was easy. Small amounts of plastic bags at the beginning, but as we made our way closer and closer towards the river, the trash became more and more abundant. From afar it seemed like a clean river but with a closer look trash was everywhere. With a bit of digging, one can see that the trash was buried under rocks or hidden with the leaves of a tree. One tree alone contained a bag worth of trash, that is if you are thorough enough to pick up all the trash hidden within.
From afar the river looked clean! 
My brother picking up plastic bags hidden within a tree.
  As the day went on my brother, dad, and I were able to pick up four bags of trash, a plastic tube, a tire, and a shopping cart. The most abundant item that I picked up today was, plastic bags, which reminded the harm single use plastics truly are. I learned in class that plastic bags are great for taking home groceries but are terrible for the environment. If plastic bags are not disposable of correctly they will end up in our streets, rivers, and beaches; which not only pollutes our waters but harms wildlife native to these ecosystems. That is why it is important to throwaway trash correctly and pickup litter left behind by others. 

Trash collected by my group. 

 Happy that my dad and brother accompanied me to this event. 
Thankfully organizations like FOLAR aim to preserve the L.A. River for us and its native animals. I was happy to see others actively participating and doing their part to clean up their river. At the end of my shift, FOLAR had already had up a truck’s worth of picked up trash. Picking up trash with FOLAR was great way to spend Earth Day. This experience with FOLAR  reinforced the dangers single use plastics have towards us and the environment as well as the importance of the L.A. river's water. Today the L.A. river is not used to supply the people of this city drinking water, instead it used to flush away storm drain water from local communities. Without a proper filter system installed, the L.A. River contains a lot of trash and chemicals which pollutes this great river making it  unsustainable for drinking. In order to have clean waters throw away your trash properly!
Within two hours this was the trash collected.

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