Litter problem

Dear Editor:Immediately after recent rainstorms, Downey was litter-free - a beautiful place to live but with each passing day litter begins to collect. Rain has washed our streets, sidewalks and buildings clean but discarded cigarettes, fast-food wrappers, dirty diapers, gum wrappers, etc. begin to appear. Places to see accumulating litter: strip malls, fast food places, donut shops and liquor stores. It's not uncommon to see empty sacks and wrappers from these shops littering the parking area. Even along city streets one can see where occupants of an automobile finished their fast food then dropped the empty sacks on the street. Particularly difficult to clean up are the small smashed plastic containers of mustard and ketchup that are ground into parking surfaces. People walking their animals should clean up the droppings since these wash through storm drains to the ocean. Discarded cigarettes are a big problem since they get into cracks in the pavement. Then rain or irrigation water floats them to the surface where they end up in the ocean. The L.A. Times recently published a large picture and article about many discarded items that floated down the San Gabriel River. Some of the many things seen: discarded automobile tires, mangled shopping carts, numerous kinds of plastic containers, tennis shoes; you name it and it's there. Seal Beach receives refuse that has traveled along the 75-mile San Gabriel River and empties into the ocean. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is an area with an intense concentration of marine trash located between Hawaii and California. The exact size of the patch is unknown but some authorities say it is bigger than the state of Texas. As our population grows so does the mount of trash we produce. Attempts have been made to clean it up but there is simply too much material over too large an area to make any significant impact. What we can do: •Every time we see litter, pick it up and dispose of it properly. •Reduce, reuse and recycle. Be conscious of all that you buy and be certain to avoid products with excessive packaging, especially in disposable products. •Take part in local stream, river and beach cleanups. Though these don't solve the problem, they are effective at drawing attention to the greater problem offshore. We live near the ocean and the San Gabriel River drains directly into it. Our storm drains wash garbage and other forms of litter from our streets directly into the ocean so be conscious of this and don't litter. •Consider joining and/or supporting groups like Keep Downey Beautiful. - Byron Dillon, Downey

********** Published: February 5, 2010 - Volume 8 - Issue 42