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ALDOG Takes a Ton of Trash Off Albany Beach in 2013

A volunteer empties her bucket in an EBRPD cleanup bin
A volunteer empties her bucket in an EBRPD cleanup bin

Braving the Arctic chill, 18 hardy volunteers collected an estimated 350 to 400 pounds of debris on Sunday, December 8, 2013, at the Albany waterfront. The volunteers came from Albany, Berkeley, Dublin, El Cerrito, Oakland, Richmond, San Leandro, and San Pablo, and once again included students from St. Mary's College High School in Berkeley.

Sunday's event brings the trash collected this year during three Albany Landfill Dog Owners Group (ALDOG) cleanups to approximately 1,000 pounds. The March and June cleanups brought in an estimated 250 and 350 pounds, respectively.

As at the earlier cleanups, the debris collected on Sunday included plastics, cigarette butts, fishing line, food containers, broken glass, some errant poop bags, and other detritus. The larger items included a shoe, pillows, plastic panels, plastic crates, rope, two shopping carts, a rotten carpet, roofing shingles, plywood and other lumber, glass cabinet doors, composite shelves, aluminum pipes and rods, and children's toys. ALDOG recycled the aluminum and some 30 bottles and cans.

ALDOG, a community group, joined the California Coastal Commission's Adopt-a-Beach program in 2013. Mary Barnsdale, an ALDOG co-founder, said the group's cleanups complement the California Coastal Cleanups held every September.

"Other groups do beach cleanups, too," Barnsdale said, noting that she encountered a community service team one day from a high school in Orinda. "ALDOG committed to the California Coastal Commission to do three cleanups a year. Between September's Coastal Cleanup and our three ALDOG events, we can ensure that Albany Beach gets at least one intensive cleanup every three months."

Barnsdale said that ALDOG had challenged itself to remove 1,000 pounds of trash during 2013.

"Sunday was really cold and we had fewer volunteers than at earlier cleanups," she said. "But there was so much stuff out there -- and people just kept dragging it in. In two hours we had a small mountain of trash and the beach, dunes, and shoreline trail all pretty much sparkled."

Barnsdale said that Golden Gate Fields generously allowed beach cleaners to park in its lot for free on Sunday, despite it being a race day.

ALDOG's cleanups are conducted in collaboration with the East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD). In 2014, ALDOG and EBRPD will trial a new procedure to screen microplastics out of the sand. The technique was developed in the Pacific Northwest to remove tiny pieces of plastic before they break down further and release toxins into the environment.

The next ALDOG cleanup will take place in March 2014. For an email reminder, please contact ALDOG at albanycadogs@gmail.com (www.aldog.org ).


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Phuong Nguyen December 10, 2013 at 12:13 PM
THANK YOU, ALDOG, for braving the cold to help keep Albany Beach clean for all of us to enjoy! Keep up the good work! Hoping to join you at the next one. Have a sparkling New Year!
Lizw December 10, 2013 at 01:10 PM
Well done, ALLDOG volunteers. Hope to see in Match!
downerave December 10, 2013 at 02:16 PM
Thank you, ALDOG! Did you stay at the main beach area, or did you also clean up detritus near the homeless encampments? Also, were there any folks from Occupy or Share the Bulb there to help? Thanks again for your generosity and positive actions toward keeping the waterfront clean and safe.
ALDOG December 10, 2013 at 02:22 PM
@downerave, we did the beach and dunes, and as much of the shoreline trail and Albany Bay Trail as we could. (Unfortunately, we couldn't get to the bushy area between the parking lot and the Bay Trail, alas. And that's really terrible right now.)
Annie Reed December 10, 2013 at 02:23 PM
Three cheers for all the ALDOG folks who participated despite the COLD weather. This is how a responsible dog community behaves, thank you! And thanks also to EBRPD and Golden Gate fields for supporting this volunteer effort. Well done!
Linda Yoshikawa December 10, 2013 at 03:52 PM
Kudos to all the volunteers! Amazing and terrific job! Thank you for braving the cold and taking the time out from your Sunday to help keep Albany beach clean for all to enjoy. And many thanks to Golden Gate Fields and the EBRPD for their support. One thousand pounds of debris. Wow!
Rochelle Nason December 10, 2013 at 09:01 PM
What ALDOG does is really critical - once-a-year cleanups are a great thing, but the Albany Beach requires the constant loving care of its dedicated park-user community and land stewards. Thank you volunteers, EBRPD, & GGF, see you in March!
Tim Cogley December 11, 2013 at 12:50 PM
Well done. Your community service is inspiring

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