Daily 49er

Long Beach citizens give back by participating in a beach clean up every month

Locals use 30 minutes to pick up trash along the shore.

A+grandmother+helps+her+grandson+put+on+his+gloves+and+hands+him+a+bag+before+they+walk+to+the+sand+to+pick+up+trash+together.
A grandmother helps her grandson put on his gloves and hands him a bag before they walk to the sand to pick up trash together.

A grandmother helps her grandson put on his gloves and hands him a bag before they walk to the sand to pick up trash together.

Sahara Barba | Daily 49er

Sahara Barba | Daily 49er

A grandmother helps her grandson put on his gloves and hands him a bag before they walk to the sand to pick up trash together.

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When Justin Rudd moved to Long Beach 20 years ago, he often had to jump over piles of trash during his runs on the beach. In response, he asked a few friends to meet on a Saturday to help pick up litter. Since then the effort has grown into a community-wide event.

The third Saturday of every month there’s a 30 minute beach clean up at Rosie’s Dog Beach in Belmont Shore. The event was established by now 48-year-old Rudd, founder of the non-profit organization the Community Action Team, which puts on about 62 Long Beach community events annually.

Saturday marked the 221st 30 minute beach clean up. The event drew about 100 people, with an age range of toddlers to adults who were supplied with bags and gloves at the sign-in table.

According to third time attendee Sandy Heath, the amount of participants have doubled. Heath’s dog doesn’t like the beach, so seeing the dogs running and swimming is part of the reason why she participates.

Rosie’s Dog Beach opened in 2003 and is the only off-leash dog beach in Los Angeles County. Rudd led the establishment of the beach and named it after Rosie, his late bulldog.

“You can have up to two dogs per person off leash, so this is one of the few places where people can bring their dogs and be on the beach,” Heath said. “That’s why I like coming here because the dogs are here too. It takes so little time to make a big difference.”

When the 30 minutes were up, Rudd called everyone back to throw their bags into the trash cans. On Saturday, the City of Long Beach provided a dumpster for the event. Though the trash bins were not completely filled to the brim, Rudd said that participants have filled up two dumpsters during past clean-ups.

Noemi Keegan and her 6-year-old daughter Elliana attended on Saturday for their first time because Elliana was concerned about the litter in Long Beach.

“We were driving to school and on a corner, [Elliana] saw a lot of trash. The corner was on Pacific [Avenue] and [Pacific Coast Highway],” Keegan said. “She said one day she wanted to come and pick up trash because the trash goes into the ocean.”

Elliana is a contestant for Little Miss Long Beach pageant next month, also hosted by Rudd. Titleholders from last year’s pageants such as Miss Long Beach and Miss Teen Long Beach attended the beach clean up.

Mrs. Long Beach 2017, Autumn Katz, said that she has gone to the beach clean up 11 times and always brings her four children with her.

“It’s such an amazing community, so being able to come together as Long Beach and clean up our beaches and do something for our community together is amazing,” Katz said.

At 10 a.m., participants met at the end of Granada Avenue, at the entrance to Belmont Shore. Since the beach has paid parking, free one hour parking passes were offered at the Community Action Team sign-in tent.

Refreshments were available at the of the community event, and there are usually contests to win cash prizes. Past contests have been for best mustache, best tattoo and best Halloween costume.

The snacks and cash prizes are an incentive to get people to come out and participate in the beach clean up.

“It’s easy to say that the beach is dirty or the water is dirty,” Rudd said. “It’s another thing to get people to come out and clean up what other people are saying is dirty. If all those people who said our beach is dirty came to help, then we would have a pristine beach.”

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