Community unites to rid Panorama City of junk
PANORAMA CITY – With large, orange brooms and green rakes in hand, community members took to the streets Saturday morning to pick up 27,000 pounds worth of fast-food wrappers, beer bottles, mattresses, couches and even a pair or two of abandoned, dirty socks. As one of 70 coastal and inland communities across Los Angeles County participating in Coastal Clean Up Day, 400 concerned residents of Panorama City joined hands with Heal the Bay, the Filipino-American Chamber of Commerce and local officials and organizations in an effort to clean up the county’s gutters, rivers and coastlines. Despite Panorama’s distance from the city’s beaches – about 25 miles – event organizers said the 44-square-block area’s trash poses serious hazards to the rivers and oceans on the coast. “What you do in your front lawns affects everything around you,” said City Councilman Richard Alarcón. “Today we are planting the seeds – when you see trash clean it up.” Panorama City’s trash made up about one-third of the total 74,000 pounds of trash collected throughout the day. More than 2,000 partially used spray cans turned up in Wilmington, an expired passport surfaced in Hermosa Beach and divers found a bridal gown near the Santa Monica pier. Police got involved in the clean up when what looked like .357 Magnum appeared in the sand at Dockweiler State Beach. Heal the Bay President Mark Gold said inland communities were added to the list of participating areas 10 years ago, after organizers realized how much of the ocean’s trash wasn’t coming from coastal areas. Last year more than 80 percent of the 70,000 pounds of trash collected during the Los Angeles county clean up came from inland communities. “All of L.A. County is in a watershed and all the trash on the ground goes into the rivers that then flow into San Pedro and Long Beach,” Gold said. “By focusing on the beach communities, we were missing the point.” Luella Eischen, an accountant for Heal the Bay and active member of the Filipino-American Chamber of Commerce, helped spearhead the clean-up effort. For Eischen picking up trash in and around the neigborhood is about more than just clearing the streets of debris. “This puts Panorama City on the map,” she said. “We are not a drug haven or a ghetto.” Several young teens from the area’s local high schools and middle schools also seemed intent on cleaning up the neighborhood’s image. “This area is dirty and we want to see it clean so everyone can enjoy it,” said 12-year-old Eileen Castillo, one of almost a dozen students who volunteered from Bert Corona Charter Middle school. Ninth grader Mayra Mazariego was a little more blunt with her reasoning for giving up Saturday morning cartoons. “Hey it’s better than being home doing nothing,” Mazariego said with a smile. [email protected] (661) 257-5254160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!