A group of approximately 15 students gathered at Manzanita Beach yesterday in an effort to keep the coast clean.
Hosted by UCSB’s chapter of CalPIRG, the tri-quarterly beach clean-up lasted two hours. Organizers said that while the event attracted a smaller crowd than usual, volunteers were able to clean both Manzanita Beach and Campus Point. In addition to its efforts to physically remove trash from the coastline, the local chapter of the student advocacy group also promotes environmental awareness through their Styrofoam ban and plastic bag tax campaigns.
According to Save Our Oceans campaign coordinator Yawar ‘Will’ Palomino, a fourth-year philosophy major, the success of these programs will ensure cleaner, greener beaches.
“We’re trying to get people to switch to reusable bags — possibly by instilling a $0.25 tax on plastic bags — and stop using Styrofoam cups on campus, like at Panda Express or Jamba Juice,” Palomino said. “If people weren’t using [disposables], [they] would stop ending up on the beaches.”
Styrofoam ban coordinator Skylar Vincent, a fourth-year communication major, said beach clean-ups demonstrate the UCSB community’s concern for the environment.
“This is an example of UCSB ‘going green’– with the help of students — by the students taking action to make the environment a better place,” Vincent said.
Moreover, intern Lizz Tyler, a third-year political science major, said the clean-ups are usually successful.
“Last time, we had about 40 people who collected over 20 pounds of trash,” Tyler said. “This time there was about 15 people and we finished the beach in front of Manzanita so we headed down to Campus Point and cleaned a second beach.”
While beach clean-ups throughout the year aim more for routine maintenance, efforts towards the end of winter quarter are geared toward mitigating impacts from Floatopia, Isla Vista’s notorious beach party.
Several groups are beginning damage control efforts for the annual non-university-sponsored Spring Quarter tradition, Palomino said.
“Floatopia is most likely going to go down, even with the alcohol ban,” Palomino said. “You can’t really stop that many people from partying on the beach so we are forming a coalition with [Isla Vista] Surfrider and [the Environmental Affairs Board] to make plans for the day after.”
Ideally, Tyler said, a number of environmental groups will be present at the event.
“We’re planning on being on the beach at Floatopia to raise awareness about people throwing trash in the ocean,” Tyler said.
According to Vincent, there are multiple plans in the works to control the flow of trash at the event.
“There is talk about putting an added number of trashcans on the beach the day of,” Vincent said.
CalPIRG will be hosting at least one more beach clean-up before the end of Winter Quarter. For more information on how to get involved, visit CalPIRG’s Facebook page.