In 1985, Dorothy Green, Howard Bennett and a group of L.A. residents banded together to stem the pollution in the Santa Monica Bay. Just a year later, the group, named Heal the Bay, secured a win when Hyperion Treatment Plant stopped dumping partially treated sewage into the bay due to their efforts.
“It’s rare for a South Bay site to be on our Beach Bummer List, which ranks the 10 most polluted beaches in the state each year”
The group lives on today and the Santa Monica Bay, stretching from Malibu’s Point Dume to Palos Verdes, remains their prime focus—meaning that South Bay residents owe much to their work, which range from beach clean-ups and marine education to ocean advocacy and the completion of their highly useful Beach Report Card, which grades local beaches weekly from A to F.
“Heal the Bay has a large group of volunteers and board members that live from Manhattan Beach to Redondo Beach,” says Heal the Bay board member and Beach Cities resident Paul Stimpfl. “While our aquarium is in Santa Monica, the collecting of food for the animals that we study comes right off the Palos Verdes coast.”
Ask someone why they live in the South Bay, and chances are it has something to do with the beach: surfing, walking the water’s edge, catching the sunset—priceless activities that have the power to shift one’s mood in a moment.
Good news: “The South Bay historically has some of the best water quality in Los Angeles County,” reports Heal the Bay’s Communications Director Matthew King. “It’s rare for a South Bay site to be on our Beach Bummer List, which ranks the 10 most polluted beaches in the state each year.”
Even better, four South Bay beaches made the organization’s most recent Honor Roll, meaning they scored perfect A+ grades throughout the year: Abalone Cove Shoreline Park, Portuguese Bend Cove, Bluff Cove and El Segundo Beach.
Perhaps you’ve seen, or been among the folks who walk the sand, buckets in hand, cleaning trash and debris from the beach. If you have a notion to join them—last year volunteers collectively pulled 800,00 pounds of trash from California’s coast and waterways in just three hours—consider signing up for Coastal Cleaning Day 2018. Happening Sept. 15, it is the world’s largest volunteer day on behalf of the environment, and a powerful way to invest in our most treasured local resource. healthebay.org
Photograph courtesy of Heal the Bay