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 email@example.com