Storm Surge Brings More than Waves as Trash Litters Shores; Clean-Up Organized for Saturday


Photos by Anna Blazevich.

Stepping out onto the beach Monday morning, Long Beach resident Laura Thatcher didn’t see the showy high tides and massive waves caused by the recent storm surges. She witnessed the aftermath: instead of seeing the hundreds of residents strewn across the beach to watch nature’s force, she laid eyes on the typically calm waters and, more specifically, the trash.

A lot of it.

Pile after pile, Thatcher was shocked to see the amount of debris washed up on the shore, and the trash cans which had come unhinged from their upright positions and tossed into the ocean like a beach ball during to the storm surges. While the unusually high surf was entertaining, there was little to no planning done in the city in regard to the consequences of the surges.

“The beach was covered in not only small pieces of trash, but big items such as huge plastic soda bottles, huge pieces of styrofoam coolers, large pieces of wood, tires, balloons, alcohol bottles, all sorts of different food and drink wrappers, plastic bags,” Thatcher said. “All the trash was scattered along the shore intermixed with seaweed and kelp… I wouldn’t want the spend the day on the sand, let alone even get in the water with just as much trash floating in the water. Not only was it displeasing to the eye, but it smelled rotten and you couldn’t escape it unless you left the beach completely.”


Thatcher, a spokeswoman for local surf school Wave Huggers, said she decided to see what she could do to help and stumbled upon Save Our Beach. Deciding to spread the word about Save Our Beach through Wave Huggers’ Instagram account, Thatcher showcased disturbing pictures of trash littered across the sand in the hopes that Long Beachers would be as disturbed as her—and grab a trash bag and lend a hand to the cleaning organization.

Save Our Beach Long Beach was founded by Steve and Kim Masoner nearly 15 years ago in 1999 because, in the words of Kim, the ocean is “literally our backyard.”

“[Steve and I would] take long walks and pick up trash along the way,” Kim stated in the organization’s mission. “We were asked many times if we had any extra bags as people would see us pick up trash and they thought they’d like to help, so we started carrying extra trash bags on our walks. And then we decided if there is that much interest in people that want to help, we’ll just make it easier for them by conducting a beach cleanup on a monthly basis.”

Since then, the organization has been holding meet-ups every first and second Saturday of the month, encouraging volunteers to tackle as much debris as possible. This Saturday’s mission is no different but extra help is needed with the additional trash washed up on our shore. For those who are unable to attend, they are encouraged to donate to the organization (via the box to the left).

“Our company Wavehuggers is an ocean conscious surf school & would love to participate or help promote any cleanups or events in Long Beach,” Thatcher said. “We would also love to organize our own beach day cleanup that incorporates surf lessons while helping clean up the beaches sometime in the near future.”

Save Our Beach Long Beach will meet this Saturday at 10AM at 1 Junipero Ave. Any volunteers attending are encouraged to bring garden or work gloves, a reusable water bottle and trash grabber. 

{FG_GEOMAP [33.7623834,-118.1645469] FG_GEOMAP}

Support our journalism.

Hyperlocal news is an essential force in our democracy, but it costs money to keep an organization like this one alive, and we can’t rely on advertiser support alone. That’s why we’re asking readers like you to support our independent, fact-based journalism. We know you like it—that’s why you’re here. Help us keep hyperlocal news alive in Long Beach.