The first rain of the season was welcomed by Angelenos, especially after that long, hot summer that seemed to start in May.
The precipitation cleanses the streets, the skyline and the soul. For one major element of our geography, however, it's not cleansing at all. Rain brings filth to the beaches of Los Angeles. Lucky for us, some volunteers are on clean-up duty big-time this morning:
The rains flush out whatever is on our streets and can fit into storm drains, and those drains empty into the Pacific Ocean.
This is a photo of the action yesterday at the foot of the Pico Kenter storm drain in Santa Monica. Not so picturesque.
The environmental group Heal the Bay indicates this year's first rain was particularly bad because it had been so long since we had a decent amount of precipitation. The group's Matthew King told L.A. Weekly:
Tons of trash has been accumulating inland during the dry summer months and now it gets washed out to sea via the storm drains totally untreated.
The organization calls its operation in response to the annual first rain “First Flush.”
At 8 this morning 30 “elite” volunteers from Heal the Bay's Storm Response Team were scheduled to start picking up debris at the Pico Kenter storm drain and on the sands of Playa del Rey, “before the high tide carries it all out to sea,” King says.
Among the usual finds, the group says in a statement:
… A veritable mountain of snack-food packaging, plastic drink containers, Styrofoam, single-use bags and other detritus from our shorelines.
Motor oil from streets and freeways, bird poop from Wienerschnitzel patios, and even human fecal matter from overflowing sewers and septic tanks often end up in the local waters, too.
The stuff that piles up on the sand and floats in the surfline is bad for wildlife and humans alike. Surfers routinely get sick after going out following a first rain.
Heal the Bay recommends waiting 72 hours before paddling out, but we know you won't.