Monday, September 7, 2020

Coastal Cleanup California: right from your doorstep!

Almost 50 years ago, 1972 to be exact, California voters supported the passage of Prop 20 which eventually led to the passage of the Coastal Act and the establishment of the California Coastal Commission. Since then, September has seen the world largest organized beach cleaning event. For obvious this year, we aren't called to all gather along the California beaches on the same day. This year, we are invited to participate, not virtually but actively and remotely, from our own neighborhood. Knowing that every piece of garbage on our streets eventually finds its way to the sea, unless we act!




This manhole cover and plaque is at the corner of my street, a great reminder I can't miss every day! As another job at work, I support our California Environmental BRG (Business Resource Group). At IBM, BRGs gather volunteers around a common passion and theme: LGBTQ+, Asian-American, Veterans, work&life integration, Women, BAME (Black, Asian & Minority Ethnic), environment, ...

For September, one of our Bee Green challenges at the state level is to participate in this monthly Coastal Cleanup program. There are multiple activities offered including one that everybody can do, right from home (albeit not from your couch though! ;-) ). It consists in picking trash in your neighborhood and log it on the CleanSwell mobile app. When I saw that, I didn't feel it was appropriate to my situation. I'm fortunate to live in an upscale neighborhood of Silicon Valley, with neat sidewalks mostly bordered by manicured front yards with green grass. Well, that's what I thought, I must have been running way too fast to notice... ;-) Back in 2011, I paid a tribute to the numerous trees in this neighborhood, really feeling blessed, especially when our nearby hills are still burning...



This Saturday, I did my usual 5K loop in blazing heat and poor air quality when I noticed a huge piece of styrofoam on the sidewalk. That was it, I picked it up and stopped by the house to drop that trophy and pick an empty bag, a pair of gloves and my phone with the app; let the treasure hunt begin! For those who aren't familiar with my blog, I love running. The neighbors who are used to see me running for hours must have wondered what happened to me: I was running a few steps, and stopping every time I was spotting a piece of trash. I never thought I would have to stop so often... That didn't make for a great run but I managed to fill two bags of trash, yikes! Here you are, a disgusting picture just after 5 kilometers.


I let you click on the image to see the details: 3 gloves (including 2 a few hundreds yards from a COVID-19 community testing site...), 6 face masks (people lose their masks while walking or driving by, really?), countless pieces of paper and shopping receipts and the usual beer cans and plastic cups. Oh, and if you though the sanitizing wipes were dissolving in the air, think again, that's not the case AT ALL; got a dozen of these, yes, disgusting!

Also, 6 cigarette butts which is quite low compared to France! Speaking of butts, watch this 6-minute story on what happens to this type trash, I'm sure you'll learn a lot, as I did a few weeks ago. I had no idea for instance that ic could resist for so long in water, and arm fish...

By the way, I picked everything but... poop bags, you are welcome! Even wrapped in a plastic bag, there is some limit to sanity and devotion to embellish the neighborhood...



While I was astonished with what I collected, I was sad to spot some new trash on my run on Sunday morning, very disappointing.

With that, your turn now, let's each do a piece to embellish the plant and protect Mother Nature, ok? Right at our doorstep! Go, walk or run, and clean!

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