Orange County Branch Newsletter
ASCE OC Branch & YMF
California Coastal Cleanup Day
By Ashlyn Alexander | Community Service Co-Chair
On September 21, 2019, the ASCE OC Branch and YMF joined together to participate in the 35th California Coastal Cleanup Day at the Upper Newport Bay in Newport Beach, California. The Coastal Cleanup Day dates back to 1985 with efforts to clean up our beaches since the 1970s! According to the Newport Bay Conservancy, the Upper Newport Bay watershed (the network of storm drains, rivers, creeks, and canals) covers 154 square miles, encompassing the communities of Newport Beach, Irvine, Tustin, Orange, Lake Forest, Laguna Hills, Costa Mesa, and Santa Ana. Also, the Bay receives thousands of pounds of trash that has washed in from surrounding cities, polluting the water, harming wildlife and threatening public health. Therefore, this year, ASCE OC wanted to service the filthier areas such as the Bay and be a part of a team of 1,000 people that typically help with this site.
We arrived with our own materials to reduce waste at the event and the Coastal Clean Up organization provided materials for our group as well. We had people arrive at all different times, so the large group separated into smaller groups. We had a group who got on a bus to a further site of the Bay by the Jamboree Bridge where tons of trash gets washed up and is difficult to get to on a normal basis. We also had a group who stayed back at site 10 and were able to clean up on the trails and down near the water. It was emphasized at the meeting to wear shoes that you would not mind getting dirty and one of our members learned this in a funny way as she reached for a piece of trash and got stuck in the mud, knee-deep! Other people who were near-by and witnessed it kindly helped her out and recovered her shoe that was stuck in the mud! Overall, It was interesting to see all the trash that we were able to pick up from bottle caps, packs of beer bottles, straws, plastic, wrappers to even pieces of furniture like couches and chairs! It was also a great opportunity to socialize with everyone in the group and meet other people that were volunteering!
We love that we are a part of an organization like ASCE, whose purpose is to uplift, support each other and communities and even contribute to keeping our beaches sustainable and safe for everyone and animals. We truly had a blast during this event and would love to do this again in the future. We look forward to the next community outreach events to come!