The Coastal Fund, a student organization that does restoration work on Isla Vista beaches, held a sunset beach clean-up along the beach of the 6700 block of Del Playa Road down to Sands Beach this past Saturday.
Students and residents met up at 4 p.m. to collect trash along the beach with gloves and large trash bags. Trash-collectors concluded the clean-up by watching the sun set along the I.V. coastline.
Fourth-year environmental studies major and outreach and education coordinator for the Coastal Fund Kylie Taylor said it is important to clean I.V. beaches regularly because of the university research conducted in these areas.
“We like to clean the beach as much as we can – at least once a quarter at minimum,” Taylor said. “Our organization is so focused on funding research projects in the coastline. It is important to our statement and values to keep it clean as we help people do their research in the coastal regions of Isla Vista.”
Taylor also said alcohol-related activities increase local waste in the ocean – specifically by allowing broken glass, bottles and cans to collect on the beach.
“Some of it can be blamed on alcohol,” Taylor said. “You can see broken glass in the streets of Isla Vista that gets transferred onto the beach. Some students also toss bottles and cans into the sand area after playing Frisbee. We want to get rid of these wastes as much as we can because we know that alcohol can be a factor in making the beaches dirtier.”
Fourth-year chemistry major Alex Germann attended the beach clean-up and said it made him feel like he was “making a difference … especially after a Friday night.”
“After cleaning the ocean, I definitely feel good about myself – as an individual and that I helped out the community,” Germann said.
According to Germann, conducting a quarterly beach clean-up not only benefits the environment, but also has positive implications for safety.
“In terms of the mess, I feel like it is not done on purpose, but sometimes it tends to happen,” Germann said. “If we volunteer to help and clean up, it is actually better for everybody.”
Fourth-year environmental studies major and Coastal Fund outreach and education coordinator Kevin Lou said the beach was not a big part of his life prior to attending the university, but that, after moving to the area, he has learned that the ocean has a lot to offer to the community.
“Before coming out to UCSB, I [lived] too far from the coast so it was not a big part of my life,” Lou said. “But, after moving here it is definitely a big part of every person’s life here from the environment to activities in the spring like going to the beach and watching the sunsets.”
According to Lou, this beach clean-up differs from previous endeavors in that it took place in the late afternoon instead of the conventional early morning start, allowing volunteers to watch the sunset after clean-up.
“We, as a group, thought it would be interesting to host this event in the afternoon to see the sunset at the end of the clean-up,” Lou said. “Instead of having it in the morning, we assumed that students do not want to wake up early in the morning in hopes of having a bigger turnout.”
Long-term resident Mark Butello said he moved to Isla Vista in 1982 and has been participating in beach clean-ups ever since.
“I used to walk up and down the beaches with a friend back in 1982 when I got here from Los Angeles,” Butello said. “We would gather up trash and clean it thoroughly. I still clean the beaches when I have the spare time to come to events like this. I love my community and do not want to leave Isla Vista.”