Kids Ocean Day Helps Clean Up LA Beaches

Malibu Foundation with Los Angeles Area Students, Teachers, State of California, and City of Los Angeles Takes Action to Wipe Out Litter and Promote a Healthy Marine Environment

PLAYA DEL REY, CA— Approximately 3,700 elementary school students descended on Dockweiler State Beach to participate in the massive beach clean-up and create an aerial work of art that celebrates the power of kids taking action for the ocean. The aerial art sent a message that clean beaches and oceans are possible and that kids can do some of the heavy lifting to prevent litter and pollutants from reaching the sea where it harms marine animals.

The beach clean-up comes on the heels of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa recognizing June 6, 2008 as “Kids Ocean Day” in Los Angeles.  

“Life on earth depends upon the ocean’s health for the oxygen we breathe, the food that we eat, and the climate we depend upon to thrive,” said Cynthia Ruiz, board of the President of Public Works. “Today, the Malibu Foundation with the City of Los Angeles, State of California, and thousands of our children and teachers are saying everyone must play a crucial role in protecting and conserving ocean resources everyday – no matter where we call home, our well-being is linked to the ocean’s health and the ocean’s health is linked to our ability to stop littering and polluting where we live, work and play.”

The annual event brought together nonprofit organizations, state and local officials, students, parents, teachers, volunteers and administrators focused on the plight of the world’s oceans. Threatened daily by inland litter, illegal dumping, and polluted runoff, organizers called for an increase in the regional stewardship of the oceans and its marine life. Along California’s coast, participants demonstrated their belief and actions on the imperative cause to protect and sustain the world’s oceans by picking up cigarette butts, food wrappers and foam containers, plastic bags and bottles, cans, caps and lids, straws and stirrers.

The event was the climactic celebration of 20 elementary schools that participated in ocean presentations held throughout the academic year in and around the City of Los Angeles. The Malibu Foundation for Environmental Education, which organizes the annual Kids Ocean Day beach clean-up, conducted the presentations on behalf of the Los Angeles Stormwater Program and California Coastal Commission.

“I am inspired by this event and the children who participate in it, all taking action today to prevent debris from getting into the ocean and harming marine animals. The children learned about marine debris and other ocean threats in school, and understand that each of us can and need to be part of the solution to these problems. I would like to thank and congratulate them for being stewards of our beautiful coast and role models for the rest of us,” said Patrick Kruer, chair of the California Coastal Commission. The Coastal Commission coordinates the program statewide and provides financial support from the Whale Tail License Plate Fund.    

These school presentations addressed the Los Angeles storm drain system, linking the students’ immediate environment to ocean pollution, and encouraging them to take volunteer actions to prevent litter and pollution. Elementary school students were invited to host their own school clean-ups and then join with the thousands of other students at Kids Ocean Day.

“Clean beaches and oceans start with clean neighborhoods,” says Michael Klubock, Executive Director of the Malibu Foundation for Environmental Education. “The children have learned that if we all keep our neighborhoods clean, we’ll prevent litter from traveling through the storm drains and harming the marine environment. Today’s event represents the belief the children have that clean beaches and oceans are possible. Their aerial art piece shows that they are hard at work doing some of tthe heavy lifting necessary to keep that vision alive.”

All the education and activity that led up to Kids Ocean Day culminated in an artistic statement with students participating in an inspirational aerial work of art. The mass of students were organized to form two giant children holding up the earth, and spelling out a phrase highlighting kids in action —”Acting to reduce beach and ocean litter to protect marine life,” explained Klubock.  

A new element to this year’s event was the participation of high school student volunteers that worked with the younger students. The high school students served as mentors to the elementary students during the beach cleanup, provided support, encouragement and motivation to the litter brigades.

At seven locations all along the California coast stretching from Humboldt to San Diego County; more than 7,500 students commemorated World Ocean Day on the 15th anniversary of the Kids Ocean Day Adopt-A-Beach Clean-Ups. Ocean Day is an annual international celebration and call to action to protect the world’s oceans. The Los Angeles event is one part of a Kids’ Ocean Day Adopt-A-Beach program held along the west coast of North America. Kids’ Ocean Day participants include students in Victoria, British Columbia; Humboldt County, CA; San Francisco, CA; Fresno, CA (visiting Monterey); Tulare County, CA (visiting San Luis Obispo); Huntington Beach, CA; and San Diego, CA. World Ocean Day is being celebrated globally on June 8th.