150 pounds of garbage, maybe 180. That was our haul of trash from the beach and breakwater Rivers For Change cleaned up on September 15th. For 6 years we’ve enjoyed working with the Watershed Project in Richmond CA to clean up a spot in San Francisco Bay. This small beach and breakwater serves nesting shorebirds and wildlife on one of the few remaining wetlands of the East Bay shoreline. Humans rarely visit this water-only accessible spot on the bay, but sadly it is well populated by our tires, bottles and any floating debris that gets blow onto its west facing shore line.
All we had to do was Show Up and Pick Up. Given the abundance of bay mud, a receding low tide and steady crosswinds, our beach clean up became an aerobic workout. Our group of Andy Toro, Janet Whittick, Chris Morris, Neil Zarchin, Marietta Gilman and Chris Farris were up for the challenge. After paddling to the beach, working through the shallows and collecting bottles, tires, bumpers, foam, baby toys and a lot of miscellaneous plastic we hauled trash across the now exposed mud flats, pulled boats and boards across more muddier flats to get back in the water. We then turned our multi-person Stand Up Paddle Board into an aquatic dump truck and paddled the trash to a collection point on shore.
Coastal Cleanup Day and aquatic clean ups like it are consistently the most fun we at RFC have at picking up trash. It is a reminder that we can not only clean a beach, shoreline or river, we can work to reduce litter and particularly plastics in our lives at anytime. Big thanks to all who helped, especially Chris Farris for taking photos.