After removing 230 pounds of litter from Dockweiler, volunteers head to Toes Beach and Ballona Creek

By Joe Piasecki

Bank of America volunteers scoured the sands of Dockweiler
on Earth Day

On Earth Day a team of 610 volunteers from Bank of America joined Heal the Bay to remove more than 230 pounds of trash from Dockweiler State Beach. This Saturday, Heal the Bay and Friends of the Ballona Wetlands are taking volunteers to do more of the same along Toes Beach and Ballona Creek.

Their biggest target: plastics, which item for item outrank Styrofoam and cigarette butts as the top pollutants on area beaches. Since March 1999, Heal the Bay beach cleanups have removed 138,549 plastic items, 111,532 pieces of Styrofoam and 53,102 cigarettes from just the Playa del Rey-adjacent portion of Dockweiler, according to the nonprofit’s Marine Debris Log.

“Dockweiler has historically been one of the beaches most in need of cleanups,” said Heal the Bay Donor Relations Manager Logan Doughtie, who organized the BofA cleanup.

“What makes it unique are the fire pits,” explained Senior Marketing & Communications Manager Talia Roselli. All the picnicking and partying associated create a ton of food-related waste — especially plastics, she says.

Bank of America Senior Vice President of Global Marketing & Corporate Affairs Garrett Gin experienced this firsthand as his volunteer group scoured the sand from Lifeguard Tower 54 to the fire pits.

“The group I was with found a lot of cigarette butts, plastic and Styrofoam. The group next to us found a foam mattress buried in the sand,” he said.

If picking up trash on the beach sounds like a Sisyphean task, note that these efforts do more than temporary good. Volunteers with Heal the Bay’s corporate and public cleanups populate the aforementioned Marine Debris Log with fresh data by documenting the trash they find, information that Heal the Bay aggregates and uses to inform public policy campaigns on a broader scale.

“Volunteerism is a great way to connect with people, and clean beaches are an important part of how we live and our identity as a region. This was a cause everyone could relate to,” said Gin.

The Toes Beach and Ballona Creek clean-ups are from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, May 20. Visit healthebay.org to register.