Salutations, my environmentally-conscious friends!
On the grand morning of Saturday, April 22, 2017 Michael and I traveled many arduous miles through the life-sapping, depression-inducing Los Angeles traffic to take part in the L.A. River cleanup hosted by FOLAR, the Friends of the L.A. River. The experience I had was unlike any other volunteer experience I've had previously. During the event, I picked up numerous objects from bicycle tires to plastic bags, to broken hard drives. I was amazed at all the trash before us. Even two hours into the event, there was still a seemingly endless amount of trash to be removed.
Upon arriving at the L.A. River, one of the first things we noticed was the trees that seemed to be wrapped in plastic. We talked about this being a problem in the past, but evidently, it still is. We spent a good amount of time trying to remove some of the plastic, but we ended up leaving a bit for others. We picked up a number of things in the area under the bridge including a credit card, a bike tire, and some torn clothes.
Moving down the river, we picked up more bike tires, bags, and old clothes and blankets. We also came across miscellaneous bike parts, shopping cart pieces, and various metal parts.
In class, we learned about e-waste, or electronic waste, and its impacts on the environment. A while into picking up trash, I discovered a piece of a hard drive (pictured on the right). This piece of hard drive had a number of non-plastic components still attached to it. Whatever metal was there was sufficiently rusted, and I suspect the chemicals found in hard drives is not entirely environmentally-friendly.
All in all, the experience was quite eye-opening and gave me a chance to witness firsthand the damage that humans are causing to the environment. Though it was hot, and I probably almost sprained an ankle on a number of occasions, I would definitely consider coming back to the Los Angeles River for future cleanup events.