Community Interview: A Resident's Concerns About The Trash In The L.A. River

Trash along the banks of the L.A. River

Youth Voices is working with students from the Los Angeles River School to re-imagine the L.A. River and the surrounding communities as part of the Northeast Los Angeles Riverfront Collaborative. The students have formed teams to explore and investigate their communities, map assets, collect and share stories, data and community input for their projects. This includes conducting interviews with local residents and experts. All the while they are learning and expanding their knowledge of digital media and civic engagement. Follow their work here, on Instagram @thegreenteam1 and on Twitter by using #kcetyv.


The community cause we are working with is improving the river quality. We want to decrease the amount of trash because it is harmful to the wildlife, and we could enjoy the river more if it were clean. We want to provide trash cans along the river in Elysian Valley and put up signs that inform where the trash cans are located.

We interviewed Manuel Munoz, a local resident, who is concerned about the way we are treating the river.

Manuel is the uncle of Melissa Munoz, one of our team members. Ever since she was a child she has watched him spend time on the river, regularly taking walks and running along its path. He has been going ever since she was a child, so she knows that he has seen many of the changes the river has gone through over the past several years. She also has heard him complain about the trash he sees. "The river is a natural resources that we should respect and enjoy, not trash it."

How long have you been coming to the river?
I've been coming to the river for about seven years.

What is an issue that concerns you about the river?
The issue that concerns me about the river is the amount of trash. It looks bad just laying around and this could make us look bad.

How would you rank the cleanness of the river on a scale from 1 to 5, 1 being low and 5 being high?
I will rate the cleanness of the river a 3 because over the years the trash has decreased but not as much as we would like to see.

What do you think our community could do to improve the quality of the river?
I think the community should have more cleanup events and find ways to make residents more involved and show support.

Would you be willing to volunteer in the river clean ups?
I would be willing to volunteer in the river clean ups because the river is important to me and I would like to improve the quality of the river so we could all enjoy it.


Will organizing monthly clean-ups keep the L.A. River in Elysian Valley clean? Tell us your thoughts here.


A bird rests a on a rock in the L.A. River. Trash is visible in the water and the bushes in the background.

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