Org spokesman Matthew King tells us that 80 percent of the 100,000-plus pounds of trash expected to be picked up throughout the county during tomorrow's Coastal Cleanup Day will have come from "inland sources... through the storm drain system."
Compared to New York or San Francisco, Los Angeles is the worst offender for storm-drain trash:
That's because when jerks toss their cigarettes onto the sidewalk or pick at their styrofoam cups -- among any number of stupid environmentally unfriendly habits we're hardly even aware of anymore -- the city's streets slurp it up faster than your little sister chugged Four Loko on prom night.
"The unique challenge of L.A. is that so much of it is paved over," says King. "It's just this vast concrete surface, so everything flows directly toward the sea."
Pretty gross, right? And leaving behind your dog's crap can be an even worse offense than dropping a Snickers wrapper: King explains that of the two kinds of trash, marine debris and bacterial pollution, the latter is worse, because it's not pickup-able and can sicken whoever comes in contact. (Plus, there's no excuse; just call Poo No More!)
All the trash than can be removed, though, is the colossal target of this Saturday's event. Last year, a record 14,131 volunteers showed up to clean the 65 sites on the Coastal Cleanup Day map -- and King expects even more in 2011.
To recap. The bad news: We're disgusting. The good news: We're slowly beginning to care.
King is hopeful on that front. "You would like to think we have an enlightened population because our elected leaders are enacting all these laws," he says. (Such as plastic-bag bans, styrofoam bans, non-smoking policies, etc.) "I remain optimistic. But it's not going to happen overnight."
Here are the "code red" spots around L.A. County for trash buildup:
View Coastal Cleanup Day 2011 - CODE RED Sites in a larger map
Avoid them at all costs. Also, maybe avoid letting your trash build up there by not allowing it to slip conveniently from your grasp when no one's looking. And, most importantly, come out this Saturday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and join the global effort to coral our nastiness before it can poison the ocean and the many adorable creatures who call it home.