Healing the Bay



By Sam Skopp

Saturday June 18 saw volunteers gather from across the region to pick up trash from the beach adjacent to the Venice Beach Pier as part of local environmental advocacy organization Heal the Bay’s monthly “Nothin’ But Sand” beach cleanup program.

Everyone from small families to large groups of college-aged kids were given buckets provided by Heal the Bay volunteers, which they gradually filled with the trash they collected throughout the morning.

Heal The Bay Beach Clean Up Venice Beach June 18 2
Students from the Pacific American Volunteer Association World Environmental Foundation

The Pacific American Volunteer Association World Environmental Foundation (or PAVA World) alone brought dozens of students, all of whom were broken off into smaller groups to participate in the event. The bright yellow uniforms worn by their young volunteers could be seen in all directions.

Matt was participating with his wife and daughter as part of a larger effort organized by his place of work. Saturday was his first time participating in a beach cleanup event. “The most surprising thing is how much trash we found where everyone is already walking,” Matt said. He and his family had only just been given their buckets, and had amassed quite a bit of trash in just minutes.

Alys Arenas, who is the programs manager for Heal the Bay, grew up in Long Beach, and now calls the Westside home. She became involved with Heal the Bay due to her passion for water quality, and now, “The beaches could use a little love,” Arenas said. Much of the refuse found by volunteers was carried onto the beach through storm drains, and is primarily comprised of cigarette butts, water bottles, straws and styrofoam.

With the data gathered at beach cleanup events by Heal the Bay, environmentally-conscious legisla- tion has been made possible in Santa Monica county, like a styrofoam container ban in 2014.

For more information on Heal the Bay and future beach cleanup events, visit healthebay.org.