Saturday, April 22, 2017

My experience volunteering at the L.A. river (FOLAR)

Picture 1: Dry river beds of the L.A. River. Also, people working!

Hey, everyone! My name's Ingelbert Figueroa and as of the day of this post a student at CSULA taking ENG 2030. My experience volunteering for FOLAR was one to remember. This was the first I had ever set foot on the L.A. river and I didn't have much expectation. I had read much on the internet regarding the condition of the river, but I had been skeptical. After seeing it for myself, I now know that there is a serious environmental issue plaguing our potential water source. I must admit, I had no interest in the condition of the L.A. river and until recently I never actually considered it a river.

Plastic polluted the river. It hung from trees and was buried in dirt. Trash from more than a decade ago was still present and shopping carts were remnant and covered in rust. It look as though the trees were pulled from the ground and pushed aside (Picture 2). 

Picture 2: Roots of a Tree and its remains.

At first glance, the task of ridding the river of plastics and other trash seemed unlikely. But, I came to realization that even my efforts, the efforts of my partner Emily (Picture 3) and the efforts of everyone participating for FOLAR, are making a difference.

     Picture 3: Emily making a difference!
After seeing the river in this condition I have a better understanding of the nature of the problem. The amount of plastic debris in the river bank, soil, and trees presents a serious issue that continues to persist over the years due to neglect from Los Angeles locals. In the documentary Plastic Paradise we are given a glance of the harm plastics have to our environment and their severity. It becomes apparent that plastic is a very persistent man made material and its difficult to eliminate from our ecosystem. And with the powers that control the production of this material not caring about its effects, the task seems unfruitful. Life near the oceans are affected by this and in turn the people are affect as well. Our food source, potential water source, and land need to be maintained by those who inhabit it and we should not be the problem. Seeing the L.A. river in its current condition strikes a cord and motivates me to make a difference, even if small, for the earth.  

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