July 15, 2024 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Santa Monica Surfer Stuffs Trash Down His Wetsuit Weekly To Help Clean-Up The Ocean:

Santa Monica resident and SaMoHi teacher Benjamin Kay has been surfing off Bay Street for many years, but has somewhat of an unusual routine of stuffing trash down his wetsuit one to two times a week in a bid to do his part to help clean-up the ocean.

On Sunday, he collected a surfboard full of trash (pictured above) between waves from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Kay explained to The Mirror how he managed to collect so much trash using his wetsuit.

“My wetsuit has a top flap that I put my head through, which buttons in the front,” Kay said. “I usually bunch up smaller plastic films into a ball and then put those in bigger bags I find, which I then lodge under the flap. This pins the plastic against my neck and chest. I also use the arm pocket, but this only holds baby pieces.”

Kay, a full-time Marine Biology and Biology teacher at SaMoHi, and part-time adjunct professor at SMC, said he started to collect trash while surfing back when he was a teenager.

He said he was influenced by his marine biology teacher at PaLiHi, Ray Millette, when he was in high school, who he still regularly surfs with.

In the water, Kay said he comes across the same single-use culprits: plastic films/wrappers, grocery store bags, and balloons that look like jellyfish.

On the beaches, he collects Styrofoam food packaging, cigarette butts, bottle caps, beverage containers, plastic cutlery, and more plastic films, wrappers, and bags.

Some of his rarer findings included a vile of blood, used syringes, and dead wildlife such as fish, sharks, seals, and birds.

“Water enthusiasts and beach goers know the problem well, but that doesn’t mean we always push for changes beyond an individual level,” Kay said.

“Proper waste disposal, recycling, and beach cleanups help, but each high tide will continue to cough up another plastic meal on the shore until we stop plastic pollution at the source.”

He said fishermen and surfers are keenly aware of the “soup” as they regularly snag plastic rubbish all the time.

“I wish I could say the slimy films we contact were mostly dislodged seaweeds – that’s not the case anymore,” he said. “In general, people all too often seem disconnected from the issue or become complacent as the baseline for “pristine” shifts with each generation. Meanwhile, we seem to have adopted a convenience-based, single-use, throw-away culture which exacerbates our plastic waste streams.”

He said he worried about people being complacent by nature, and even more so about the people upstream/inland because “they don’t see downstream as often and are unfortunately spaired the visual education that I receive on a weekly basis.”

“It doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to know we have a serious problem, one that necessitates immediate intervention from the top down and bottom up,” he said.

As a 32-year-old native and a local surfer, angler, kayaker, diver, marine researcher and educator, Kay said he can empirically say plastic pollution has steadily worsened over his lifetime.

While he harbors much hope for improvement, which stems from the recent Santa Monica plastic bag ban and litter abatement devices deployed in storm drain catch basins, he said single-use plastics have successfully pervaded the marketplace, with no overnight solutions in sight.

He has developed a Paddle Clean-up idea to involve the community.

“I’d like to engage the surfing, boogie board, paddle board, kayak, and diving communities in an aquatic cleanup to help us all get on the same page about the reasons for and sources of plastic pollution and build a greater activist coalition,” he said. “I heard a guy in the water yesterday blame beach-going litter bugs for the problem, but the reasons for plastics into our oceans is much more complex than that.”

Kay is also a local supporter and member of many non-profits.

“My Team Marine and Heal the Bay Surfrider Club students at SaMoHi and I are also closely partnered with Heal the Bay, Surfrider Foundation, 5Gyres, The Daily Ocean, Algalita Marine Research Foundation, Tree People, Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots, and the Plastic Pollution Coalition,” he said. “Our levels of involvement range from simple beach cleanups to lobbying all levels of government for bag and Styrofoam bans to conducting water quality research to showcasing gigantic eco-artwork to raise awareness.”

While he continues his eco-efforts, he will continue to collect trash with his marine biology teacher from high school, and now long-time fellow surf buddy, Ray Millette, who has been an inspirational eco-role model for him since their first surf together in 1996.

Keep up-to-date With The Mirror:

Follow The Mirror on Twitter: twitter.com/SMMirror

Follow The Mirror on Facebook: facebook.com/SMMirror

in News
Related Posts

Local Leaders and Law Enforcement React to Trump Assassination Attempt

July 14, 2024

July 14, 2024

Reactions Emphasize the Need for Unity and Safety in Our Nation  After the shocking news of the attempted assassination of...

Child Abductor Arrested After Victim Rescued: Report

July 14, 2024

July 14, 2024

Officers Reportedly Located the Child and Suspect Nearly 30 Minutes After a 911 Call A 4-year-old girl who was abducted...

Beloved Brentwood Monument Destroyed by Vandals on San Vincente Median

July 14, 2024

July 14, 2024

A Symbol of Community History and Dedication Found in Pieces One of Brentwood’s most cherished monuments was callously destroyed by...

Los Angeles Woman Sentenced to 35 Years to Life for Murder of Michael Latt

July 14, 2024

July 14, 2024

35 Years to Life for Woman Who Killed Social Justice Advocate Jameelah Michl was sentenced to 35 years to life...

Summer at Annenberg:Swim Daily and Watch the Sunset

July 12, 2024

July 12, 2024

By Susan Payne A unique, inclusive community destination along the Pacific Coast Highway of Santa Monica is inviting you to...

Kroger and Albertsons Reveal List of Stores to be Divested in $25 Billion Merger

July 12, 2024

July 12, 2024

Eleven Stores in West Los Angeles Among Locations to be Sold  The Kroger Company and Albertsons Companies Inc. have announced...

Pizza Girl’s First Brick-and-Mortar Shop Opens Along Venice Beach

July 12, 2024

July 12, 2024

Its Owner, Caroline D’Amore, Has Made Several Film Appearances, Modeled, and Toured Internationally With Paris Hilton as a DJ By Zach...

This Homeless Santa Monica Resident Saved a Teenage Girl From a Vicious Attack

July 12, 2024

July 12, 2024

City Council’s Commendation for Wilker Was Made at Its Most Recent Meeting on July 9 By Zach Armstrong Santa Monica...

Santa Monica Launches Bitcoin Office to Educate and Innovate

July 11, 2024

July 11, 2024

New initiative aims to boost digital currency awareness, partnerships, and sustainable mining efforts The city of Santa Monica has unveiled...

Film Review: The Bikeriders

July 11, 2024

July 11, 2024

FILM REVIEWTHE BIKERIDERSRated R116 MinutesReleased June 21st, Still in Theatres, also online on Prime, Apple TV and other VOD platforms...

Both Drivers Have Been Identified in Fatal Malibu Crash on July 4

July 11, 2024

July 11, 2024

Collision on Pacific Coast Highway Leaves One Driver Dead Law enforcement officials have identified the drivers in the tragic accident...

(Video) Renowned Soprano Singer to Make L.A. Homecoming at Broad Stage

July 11, 2024

July 11, 2024

Golda is scheduled to perform on July 13 at 8 p.m. @smmirrornews This Saprano singer is set to take the...

Tartine Bakery Opens Venice Beach Location

July 11, 2024

July 11, 2024

A Throng of New Menu Items Are Exclusive to Tartine Venice By Zach Armstrong After more than two decades of going...

A Homeless Man in a Palisades Canyon Was Found With a Revolver. Its Property Owner Has Neglected the Site for Years

July 11, 2024

July 11, 2024

The Entire Canyon Is Now a Significant Fire Hazard, According to Officials By Zach Armstrong Within a Pacific Palisades canyon, one...

Council Approves Five-Year-Plan to Improve Big Blue Bus Services

July 10, 2024

July 10, 2024

The Initiative Aims to Expand Operating Hours, Improve Connectivity, and Create More Frequent Service By Zach Armstrong A five-year plan...