Hannah Heineman, Mirror Staff Writer
The City of Santa Monica received an award from the Clean Beaches Council and Take Pride In America “for its efforts to increase public responsibility and stewardship of public beaches.”
Mayor Robert Holbrook accepted the award at last Wednesday’s press conference at a final beach cleanup north of the Santa Monica Pier. The cleanup was part of National Clean Beaches Week (NCBW), which took place from June 29 to July 5. Holbrook, like other governors and mayors across the country, read a proclamation in support of NCBW.
Walter McLeod, the President of the Clean Beaches Council (CBC), told the gathered crowd, “52.7 percentage of the total U.S. population lives in the coastal zone. Each year approximately 180 million Americans make two billion visits to ocean, gulf and inland beaches.” This greatly impacts the beach areas so much so that the safety, health and the environmental conditions of many beach areas continue to deteriorate, especially due to litter. He stressed America’s beaches are rife with garbage and that the “4th of July is the trashiest day of the year for every beach in this country. And that is shameful.” He urged all Americans to treat beaches like “treasures,” similar to how we treat our national parks.
The founder of the Ocean Futures Society, Jean-Michel Cousteau – also a filmmaker, explorer and environmentalist – noted in his remarks, “The ocean is our life support system and we’re polluting it” with trash, chemicals and heavy metals. Unregulated fishing practices are causing fish “to disappear at a fast pace.” As a result, the world is “suffering from the destruction of the ocean habitat. It’s like an individual polluting themselves.” In the American gulf there is a “dead zone as big as Pennsylvania where other than bacteria nothing else lives. The world uses the ocean as a trash can and that must stop.” His society is committed to getting the world out on issues affecting our oceans.
Heal the Bay’s representative Sara Abramson emphasized that in “Southern California urban runoff and stormwater flows are the number one source of beach water pollution.” Another problem is trash. “Eighty percent of trash that makes its way to the sea comes from land-based sources.” She also mentioned that, “Beach Water Quality Standards will be enforceable under the Federal Clean Water Act starting July 15.” This means “all Santa Monica Bay Beaches must meet health standards 100 percent of the time during the peak summer season.”
Paul Davis, the City of Santa Monica’s Beach Maintenance Supervisor, also received an award from the CBC and TPIA for following responsible beach management practices.
Dozens of events across the nation celebrated NCBW. Federal legislators have introduced resolutions to make NCBW a standing national celebration.
According to TPIA, the organization “is a partnership program that enables individuals, civic groups, corporations and others to volunteer in caring for the lands we share.”