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If you’re disgusted by trashed beaches after winter rains, imagine what’s hiding in the water

If you’re disgusted by trashed beaches after winter rains, imagine what’s hiding in the water
Several days of rain have led to piles of trash washing up on many of Southern California's beaches, including this heap in Seal Beach on Feb. 7. (Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: At the very least, some of the trash accumulating on Southern California beaches after the recent winter storms can be picked up and moved elsewhere. It's what we don’t see — the trash that makes it into the ocean — that really has an impact.

Non-human animals are already suffering. You can do something about it. You can do nothing about. We will all pay for it.

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We have messed with Mother Nature.

Wes Correll, Irvine

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To the editor: It’s not just beaches that are full of trash. Refuse is abundant at the Port of Los Angeles, spread across the rock jetties and breakwaters, clustered among the sea grass and floating in the open water.

What is not picked up and packed out breaks down into microplastics that make their way to our diets via the fish we eat. It is certainly worse after heavy rains, but it is a year-round crime against the commons that must be solved.

I’ve contacted the L.A. Harbor Commission seeking permission to organize cleanups on the jetties but have not received any response. Meanwhile, I encourage paddlers to pick up what we can.

Eva Cicoria, Rancho Palos Verdes

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To the editor: A report by the CalPIRG Education Fund found that Los Angeles residents now throw out at least 23% more trash than they did in 2012. This is largely because we produce too many things that we use once.

The solution to cleaner and safer beaches starts with getting rid of single-use plastics, which make up about half the weight of what U.S. households and businesses throw away. Plastics persist in our environment for centuries, harm wildlife, and litter our beaches.

We are currently trying to do away with plastic bags and straws, but we still need to tackle the problem of polystyrene foam, which is not recyclable in L.A.’s blue bins and breaks apart easily into small particles that end up in our waterways. We don’t need polystyrene, which has many reusable and compostable alternatives.

Let’s prevent even worse beach cleanups by banning polystyrene statewide.

Adair Andre, Denver, and Dan Jacobson, Sacramento

Andre works for the U.S. Public Interest Group’s Zero Waste Campaign; Jacobson is the legislative director for Environment California.

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