Less Traffic, More Trash

Beth GoodeBy Beth Goode      July 10, 2020

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Less Traffic, More Trash
The Trash Warriors have picked up more trash than usual on the Boulevard that has less traffic than before the COVID-19 quarantine. In this pre-pandemic photo, they are: Paul Grzymkowski, Beth Goode, Jennie Hinton, Joseph Rosendo, Roger Pugliese, Joe Sloa
Two Sunday mornings and forty bags later, Topanga’s Trash Warriors are tired and smiling, and the Boulevard looks beautiful again. The early mornings on Sundays are breathtaking not only in their visual brilliance, but the birdsong is a boisterous, raucous, festival of melodies celebrating the new day. We are grateful to be able to witness it all. As usual on Sundays, by 7 a.m., we were all reunited at the Topanga Post Office to divide and conquer the trash on our main street, Topanga Canyon Boulevard. It is lovely to watch the seasons progress as we traverse the canyon roadway every Sunday morning picking up the remnants of social gatherings. These days, the flowers continue to bloom, different ones opening at different times, and the grasses are drying in the sun but still green in the shade of the trees.  We have been few in numbers (5 and 7) but mighty in strength. There was a lot of mail on the roadside that had been plucked from the mailboxes and strewn about once it was picked through. Joe [Rosendo] gathered one batch and delivered it to a home off Old Canyon. The addressee was quite pleased. We returned what we found to the Post Office. Right off the bat, I saw a bright pink plastic toy in my designated section of the highway, and as I walked up to it and reached with my grabber, I noticed the snake. From that moment on, I was vigilant in staying aware of my surroundings, especially at my feet! We are in a huge natural swath of Los Angeles County and, sometimes, I forget about all of the critters with which we share it.
Masks and gloves make up the fastest growing garbage gunk, and we can’t find a grabber long enough to keep us far enough away from them as we collect and bag them. Hard alcohol in glass containers are the most prolific of our plunder from the roadsides. We know things are tough right now. Hang in there. The usual plastic refuse from fast food, junk food, and to-go drinks were picked up and deposited in our bags. Enormous pieces of plastic packaging lying all around the canyon roadsides were snagged as well.

Joseph Rosendo discovered six large plastic bags blocking a culvert. They were filled with brush-clearing debris dumped over the side but out of sight from the Boulevard. The team dragged them up the hill and left them for Caltrans, who had already picked up 15 bags nearby, to cart away.

Each week, I collect no less than 300 cigarette butts from the ground. I stop counting after that. Car parts, construction debris, empty boxes and cans collect on the sides of the road and we grab them up and make this part of heaven on earth pristine again, if only for a little while. Two cottontails and a raven thanked us for our contribution to keeping their home habitable. (Or maybe that was heat stroke.) Poor Mother Earth. She must be exhausted trying to clean up after all of her messy children.

Come join us any Sunday at 7 a.m. at Topanga Post Office. We have all the gear you need.
Beth Goode

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