Snap Judgment: Clean It or Leave It

I had visions of hordes of Long Beach ocean-view apartment inhabitants spilling out onto the beach this past Saturday for the monthly (second Saturdays) half-hour “Clean Alamitos Beach” event. After all, if you run here, ride your bike here, walk your dog here, bring your kids here, stroll here, play volleyball here, make-out here, surely you'd take a little time to pick up a few of the million pieces of plastic or styrofoam that lurk visibly in every direction on this little beach.

I was met by a smaller but ardent group of regulars and newcomers.


At 10 a.m. on Saturday about a dozen, maybe two dozen, Long Beach residents dotted the short Alamitos Beach coastline. Organizer Josh Westfall said next month will mark the “Clean Alamitos Beach” group's 100th clean-up. In the sunny, hazy distance big people and little people with white garbage bags stooped over and picked up plastic Cheetos wrapper after wrapper.

The handful of little people there were from Gompers Elementary school, and later a group of Compton High teens from the school's recycling club joined the clean-up, donning “Recycle for Survival” t-shirts designed by one of the students in the club.

Those who came out to deal with some of the non-biodegradable L.A. crap that makes its way (sadly, frustratingly, annoyingly) into the bay here via the L.A. (dirtiest) and San Gabriel (cleaned up in recent years) Rivers were merry and productive despite what seems like an endless onslaught of L.A. garbage. This is, after all, the last stop for garbage that should have been corralled at the mouth of the L.A. River.

One Ocean Blvd. high-rise inhabitant stumbled out and asked if all these people were volunteers.

Yes, we said.

Great, he said, I've been wanting to do something.

The diligent regulars and eager newcomers returned after half hour with hefty bags of debris, leaving, at least for the day, a lovelier beach behind them.

Alamitos Beach Clean-ups: 2nd Saturdays
Belmont Beach Clean-ups: 3rd Saturdays

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