SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Santa Barbara just got cleaner thanks to the Explore Ecology Beach Cleanup.
Volunteers collected as much rubbish as they could find scattered around Arroyo Burro Beach.
“People can see that others care about them, and that makes them care even more,” says Arushi Lakhan-Pal, an intern at the Watershed Resource Center.
“It’s also fun because you’re hanging out on the beach and helping the environment. At the same time, there are many people who genuinely love animals, and that’s their biggest drive to do so,” says Explore Ecology environmental educator Lu Kernstine.
Volunteers like Leonardo de Jesus, who was visiting from Goleta, made sure they were doing their part to help the ecosystem by saying that plastic waste will ultimately harm us as consumers.
Environmental expert Lu Kernstine explained that animals start eating a lot of garbage because it eventually starts to look and smell like their food sources. The result is deadly.
Lu Kernstine explained, “We found some dead animals today that washed up on the shore because of this, and then they get caught in some garbage as well. You get stuck in it. So it’s a pretty big, pretty big problem.”
Although the focus of today’s event was litter pick-up, intern Arushi explained how everyone can do their part to create as little litter as possible. She said it’s important to be aware of what consumers are buying and urged that people should only buy what they really need.
Lu Kernstine debunked the myth that one person’s contribution is not enough to bring about lasting change. She stressed that this cleanup could lead to changes in environmental policy.
“A lot of people think if I’m just a person, my trash doesn’t matter if it’s on the floor or if you see it, you just think I’ll leave it alone. Like, I don’t have to pick it up. I’m a person, but if everyone thinks like that, then we won’t pick up garbage and the like at all, our environment will be disgusting,” says Lu Kernstine.
The beach cleaning program will continue to welcome volunteers on the second Sunday of each month.