It was an unsightly mess that motivated concerned residents to spring into action.
About 20 volunteers showed up on Sunday morning, October 17, to pick up the blanket of litter along the western shoreline of the Seaplane Lagoon at Alameda Point. This area is a popular destination for recreational visitors, many of whom leave their trash on the ground. The city recently took steps to stop side-show activity there.
The western side of the Seaplane Lagoon is slated for an ecological wetland park with trails and observation points. It is dubbed De-Pave Park because the pavement will be removed to allow water to enter the area and adapt naturally to sea level rise. The city hopes to begin the master planning process next year if funding becomes available.
In the meantime, concerned residents decided to do something about the appalling accumulation of trash along the shoreline. The hour-and-a-half cleanup was organized by the Sierra Club and Community Action for a Sustainable Alameda.
“Cleaning up the site of the future De-Pave Park created the opportunity to see the beauty that a park will allow Alamedans a chance to enjoy,” said Alameda resident Jim DuPont.
The nearby Urban Legend Winery provided a staging area for the nine bins supplied for free by Alameda County Industries.
The volunteers brought buckets, bags, and trash grabbers. By the end of the cleanup, three 96-gallon trash bins were jam packed, and the same-sized compostable and recyclable bins got their share too. Stooping over to pick up one piece of litter usually revealed 10 more pieces embedded in the ice plant and dirt. Fast food containers and wrappers were everywhere cars park. The most unexpected amount of litter was cigarette butts.
Noteworthy for its absence was Styrofoam containers, suggesting that recent ordinances banning its use for carry-out food has had a positive impact.
Some sections of the perimeter, such as the south shoreline and along the fence at the federal property line, did not get cleaned up and will require a return visit.
Passersby during the cleanup thanked the volunteers. A group of Western Grebes, a bird with distinctive black and white coloring and red eyes floating in the lagoon nearby and occasionally diving for food, served as a reminder of the creatures that are downstream from human trash.