Hello, my name is Caroline Pinheiro, I am a freshman taking Ximena Hernandez's 2030 English class. On April 22 of 2017, I, along with the rest of the class, helped pick up trash near the LA river in my home town of Glendale. Now when we first arrived, the river is not in sight, nor was it the objective of our clean up. We were tasked to clean up the area around the river rather than the water itself. I was not particularly surprised about the amount of trash and plastic we found, but was still frustrated at the lightweight and tangle-prone nature of the trash. Most of which was bits of plastic bags that caught onto snags on tree branches and weighed it down, which would eventually lead to the plant's demise.
It's enough to say how surprisingly inspiring it was to see many people gathering to clean up the river, many of which without having a classroom assignment to motivate them. Others suggested to have these clean ups more often, so that there would be less trash to harm out wildlife, however I disagree. More clean ups with not mean more cleaning up, but less people showing up. It takes away from the special moment that is the flash clean up and instead introduces environmental concern as a regular chore that many would resent enough to not go.
One thing that I feel this assignment failed to address, not through any fault of the professor or the assignment but rather due to lack of practical solution, was the water. I failed to get a picture of it, but on the edge of the water where it meets the bank, there was a built up of tan foam. Who knows what was actually in it but it reminded me of another river I know from my stay in Sao Paulo Brazil, where at the end of the river, the process of cleaning the water disturbed the surface so much that the pollutant foam would build up to 4 feet high. Yet again I was reminded of this river when students in class claimed they passed over the LA river without paying any mind or notice to it, but this time I was reminded of how that is exactly not the life in Sao Paulo. Our river, Rio Tiete, runs through the middle of our city and is regarded as Open Sewer, and falling into it was joked, but not altogether disproven, as certain death.
This foamy, trash ridden river that everyone can smell from literally a mile away if what I fear will happen to the LA river. And as it stands, there is no reason as to why it won't. Without some TLC, our LA river is ripe to become the flowing trash convener out into the ocean. However is FOLAR, Friends of the LA River, continue to do their work, along with the help of some change in government policy, I believe we can undo the damage done on the river and the environment around it. I believe the key is to prevent the pollutants and trash from even getting to the river in the first place. Americans, not only those in LA, should be made aware of how our country removes it's trash from the public eye. Once the general public is informed, and thus feeling more than a little guilty, then they can begin to accept that change must be had for the sake of not only the planet, but for ourselves as well.