One way to really get to know the L.A. River is to spend an afternoon there cleaning it up. This week, the student producers volunteered with the Los Angeles Conservation Corps and went into the Elysian Valley stretch to pick up trash that continues to build up on the riverbeds, threatening the natural habitat.
While at the river, we found a variety of debris ranging from smaller pieces such as single-use plastic bags and empty bottles to larger items like grocery carts and even dog kennels. Some students found tires submerged so deep they were impossible to remove.
Why all the trash, you may ask? Well, in addition to random acts of littering and abandonment of waste materials, we learned that after every storm the rain water carries all the trash and toxic oils from the streets into the storm drains and finally into the river.
The students observed the mass quantity of garbage that piles up in the river and the large footprint left by a city of 20 million people polluting an otherwise naturally beautiful area with the potential to sustain a thriving ecology. The experience to say the least, was a great eye-opener for our students.
Student Producer Allan reflected on the experience. Click to read his impression.
Below is a little video that captures the grit and the grime.