Pacifica Beach Coalition leads banner year for environment
For every piece of trash not properly disposed of, some life will suffer. That life could be swimming in the ocean, winging through the clouds, walking on the planet, or gliding over trees or ground.
Unchecked garbage finds its way down streets and into storm drains, traveling unwelcome into creeks, rivers, lakes and oceans – bodies of water whose one great purpose is to sustain life.
It is something that every person can do something about on an individual basis and it is something that the Pacifica Beach Coalition – a grassroots beach stewardship group dedicated to preserving the ocean, coastal habitat and wildlife – has done something about since its founding in 1997.
A project of Pacifica’s Environmental Family, throughout the years the volunteer-driven PBC has been the recipient of multiple recognitions and awards. In 2015 alone they were honored by Congresswoman Jackie Speier, California State Senator Jerry Hill, San Mateo County Supervisor Don Horsley and the City of Pacifica. Lynn Adams, president of the PBC, said there is so much to be proud of in 2015.
“I almost don’t know where to start,” Adams said. “The PBC hosted 750 volunteers from Bay Area businesses for ‘Give Back’ events. These volunteers removed weeds from the Give Back patch in Linda Mar and all along the bike path from Crespi to Rockaway, including the Rockaway switchbacks, some on the hillside, and also the bluff just above the beach.
Give Back teams have been weeding along the bike path for four years now and each year they have gotten farther. But this year, we punched up the top switches from Linda Mar, across the top and down the Rockaway side. This is a humongous feat that I am so proud of.”
“In addition, a small team led by PBC volunteer Freidel Cohen, has planted native plants on one of the Rockaway switches to reestablish the native habitat and plants in this area,” Adams continued. “Freidel, his team and Give Back teams, also cut back the ‘zillion’ wild fennel plants growing down the hill side of the switches at Rockaway.”
This year, the PBC created an online reporting form, easing the process of Coalition members providing cleanup statistics, including from the recent Beach Coalition backed and installed cigarette collection containers. (Cigarette butts are non-biodegradable litter. They are the most commonly discarded waste worldwide.)
Cigarette container collection data using the new system, and dating from July, presents a total of 14,986 butts collected. For the year, the PBC removed 94,172 cigarette butts from streets, beaches and containers.
This year, 1,445 volunteers participated in PBC’s Coastal Cleanup Day and 7,152 volunteers participated in PBC’s Earth Day of Action and EcoFest.
“This year our Earth Day volunteers removed 5,652 pounds of trash and recycles, which is far less than the 16,200 pounds collected in 2012,” Adams noted. “That is extraordinary.”
Students from both high schools have participated in keeping their home healthy and beautiful, sometimes every weekend. This year Brighton Preschool adopted Linda Mar State Beach and the kids have done multiple cleanups.
Adams is additionally thrilled that the outreach of the PBC expanded this year to Tunitas Creek in Half Moon Bay, Montara State Beach and Gray Whale Cove State Beach in Montara.
Adams loved that the PBC was able to help spread the word about the importance of bees – bees were the PBC honorees of this year’s Earth Day – through bee lectures by bee experts at local schools and at the EcoFest.
Adams was wowed by the many volunteers who came out to do cleanups after Matson Shipping containers came ashore at beaches in the north end of town. This year, PBC tabulated a total of 25,952 volunteers helped keep Pacifica clean.
“The PBC has grown so much that we are in need of an office and perhaps staff members in order to keep our programs going,” Adams said.
“I ask that people consider donating to the PBC so that we can continue our work of educating and engaging the public in helping the ocean and ourselves. A clean ocean, clean beaches and clean streets will require everyone’s help. We have a lot of teaching to do yet.”
Pacifica Tribune correspondent Jean Bartlett can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.