Long Beach residents gathered at Harborlight Landing, a private dock near the Maya Hotel, to fish trash out of the ocean with nets, laundry baskets and three-gallon buckets on Wednesday, Nov. 3.
Alexis Almonte, a vegan activist and Long Beach resident, was astonished by the amount of trash that McDade posted on Instagram.
“I’ve been trying to do a trash cleanup with him,” Almonte said. “He’s been talking to me about it for a couple of years, but he never sent me pictures.”
Almonte said she made a call to action on Instagram, which resulted in over 40 people asking to get involved. They called the group “Trash and Titties.”
While Almonte said she was a bit disappointed when 40 people did not show up, seven people did attend and the group collected over 20 bags of trash within three and a half hours.
“I had no idea Lexi would pull seven people together to come down, let alone pull 26 bags full of trash,” McDade said. “I didn’t expect that today.”
The group found a lot of oddities in the water, such as discarded tampons, a car tire, dead animals and a sign from Studio City, which is 40 miles away from Long Beach.
“The weirdest thing I found during the cleanup was a plastic piece of a car,” Samantha Salazar, a Belmont Shores resident, said.
Most of the debris flowed from the L.A. River, which is over 50 miles long. McDade said the responsibility of picking up trash, especially after a storm, falls on Jet2Ski, which puts a strain on the employees.
McDade said he couldn’t place barriers to prevent debris overflow because the landing was located on the open ocean. Locations like Rainbow Harbor near the Long Beach Aquarium are more enclosed, where trash booms are used to intercept trash and debris.
Although the booms stop a lot of trash from building up, they do not stop the debris from piling on the boat docks near the Maya Hotel and Harborlight Landing.
“It’s kind of confusing that the city doesn’t do anything about it,” Almonte said. “Maybe they will now.”
McDade, who believes not many people are aware of the trash that collects after rainstorms, thinks tagging local Long Beach news organizations on social media and contacting the Long Beach City Council members could bring change.
“Trash and Titties” attendees said they plan to make the trash pickups a weekly event. The group has also created a group chat on Instagram and is seeking sponsors.
With over 47,000 Instagram followers, Almonte said she hopes to use her reach on social media to find a sponsor to supply nets and other equipment.
Long Beach weekly beach cleanups are held every Wednesday from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m., visit the @onelovecleanup Instagram page to learn more.