Community cleans up coastline

By Roxana Amparo, News Editor

Community members joined the 30th annual Coastal Cleanup Day to help heal the bay by reducing waste at Point Pinole Regional Shoreline on Saturday.

The Coastal Cleanup Day is the largest international volunteer event, with over 800 locations statewide sponsored by the California Coastal Commission, an organization that strives to conserve the coast by reducing waste.

However, the Coastal Cleanup didn’t only happen in California; it happened in various parts of the world, including the Philippines, Christopher Lim, program manager of the Watershed Program from Lafayette, said.

The Watershed Program works to inspire Bay Area communities to appreciate and protect their watersheds — creeks and oceans.
The event happens once a year on the third Saturday of September, and anyone is welcomed to join the cause.

The total weight of the trash collected all over the 800 locations is added up as a whole to calculate the impact made throughout the creeks and shorelines from all over.

“Eighty percent of trash comes from land, 20 percent from boats, but ultimately 100 percent comes from people,” Lim said. “If we are part of the problem, we are part of the solution.”

Lim was raising awareness about The Great Pacific Garbage Patch. The waves’ spinning motion carries trash and other debris into the middle of Hawaii where it collects and forms a pileup of trash.

Inhabitants of the seas — fish, turtles, dolphins, etc. — consume pieces of trash and debris causing them harm and even death, he said.
Fishing lines and hooks that are tangled together get mistaken for food by birds, he said, which causes them to feel full when the reality is that the hooks are killing them slowly.

The site supervisors, Sue Shallenberger, sixth-year supervisor from Oakland, and Sonja Franeta, a volunteer from Oakland, handed out buckets, bags and gloves to the volunteers to collect trash along the shoreline.

“(Trash) is a big problem in the bay because birds die and vegetation is prevented from growing,” Franeta said.
The gloomy morning weather did not stop volunteers from Richmond, El Sobrante, Pinole, Oakland and more from putting their gloves on and getting their shoes dirty.

Big, green vans carried groups of people further into different parts of the park along the trails while others walked to their destinations near the sand.
“The scenery is beautiful, but there is an amazing amount of junk,” volunteer from Pinole, Maria Torralba, said.
Amid the sand on the Point Pinole Shoreline were shards of broken glass, fishhooks, fishing lines, cigarette butts, plastic caps, paper bags and many shotgun shell casings.

When a shotgun is fired, the bullet shells fall into the sand and eventually make it into the water, which endangers wild and marine life.
A group of 33 Boy Scouts enthusiastically worked together to remove large logs from the shoreline, as well as more shotgun casings and other debris.
“Our main goal for the day is to work together and remove everything that could harm the environment,” Fred Skillman, Assistant Scoutmaster from Concord, said.

The morning continued to remain gray as volunteers filled buckets with trash debris along the shoreline.

Towards the end of the Coastal Cleanup, the trash buckets and bags were collected to calculate the results, as well as the volunteers’ personal experiences were requested.

Volunteers received a scarf, a pass for free tacos from Rubio’s and the experience of participating in the cleanup to help heal the bay.