A Germophobe and Nature Lover Help Clean The Los Angeles River

A Germophobe and Nature Lover Help Clean The Los Angeles River
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    - Ah.
    (action music)
    ^- The L.A. River is so important
    ^because it's such a landmark.
    ^- I just moved from New York to L.A.
    This is my first time to the L.A. River.
    - Thanks for coming out.
    ^You are two of the 10,000 volunteers
    ^that we're gonna draw out this year.
    This is the soft bottom section of the river.
    Last year we pulled out 140 tons of trash from the river.
    - [Rachel] Oh my gosh.
    - That otherwise would've ended up in the Pacific Ocean.
    There are 2,000 storm drains that lead into this river.
    And so if you drop a piece of trash, a cigarette butt,
    in the street, it ends up here.
    - Oh my god, I'm looking forward to the clean up today
    because I am a L.A. native.
    My parents came from Guatemala in search of a better life.
    So it's very personal.
    - [Rachel] I'm really excited to
    get involved in the community and
    be able to give back to my new home.
    - I'm not afraid to get dirty.
    - I'm a little bit nervous about all the germs.
    But I'm gonna try to power through it
    and not get caught up in my hang-up.
    - [Christian] Let's venture out.
    (upbeat music)
    - [Rachel] What's the history of the river?
    - This is actually a natural river.
    It hasn't always been encased in concrete.
    Centuries ago this is where the indigenous peoples
    decided to settle because there was a body of water here.
    And eventually the city grew up around it.
    And then there were catastrophic floods in the 30s,
    which is when the Army Corps came and encased it
    hoping to just shunt all of that floodwater
    out to the ocean as quickly as possible.
    - How long is the river?
    - It's 51 miles long.
    So it's all the way from the valley to the ocean.
    It's a huge body of water.
    - [Rachel] It's all like these
    little pieces in there.
    - [Christian] So how do you feel about the dirt so far?
    - The smell is throwing me off a little.
    - Yeah.
    - It's really not terrible now that we're in it.
    - Yeah.
    How many of these do you think are
    produced daily in the world?
    - Millions.
    What is this?
    Just more plastic.
    Seems to be the reoccurring theme of the day.
    - I thought it was just maybe,
    cute little pick ups here and there.
    - Little thicker, this isn't plastic?
    - Yeah, yeah.
    Little straws, but actually the problem goes deeper.
    Oh.
    Sheesh.
    Look what I found.
    - [Rachel] What's that?
    - Another straw.
    - [Rachel] Another straw?
    - Yeah.
    - These friggin straws man,
    I'm never gonna use a straw again.
    - [Christian] Until you're confronted with it, you're like
    okay how am I contributing to...
    - [Rachel] Yeah, like
    how am I even a part of this?
    - [Christian] Yeah.
    - [Rachel] Now it's like, oh I see it,
    I see why they're so weird about plastic bags.
    - Well I'm picking up all these things,
    I'm like, it all adds up.
    - And it kinda like hurts my heart
    to see trees intertwined with garbage.
    Because every person drops one bag or
    they use a straw or a to go cup, it's like
    this is what's contributing so much of this plastic,
    that it's everywhere.
    - Similarly, if we all became a little more
    conscientious of our habits.
    - [Rachel] Yeah.
    - We could also make that difference and make an impact.
    - We picked up this much trash in an hour, this much.
    - And that's just between you an I.
    - [Rachel] I know.
    - What is the greater vision for the L.A. River?
    - We've been looking at ways of getting rid
    of some of the concrete and really restoring the habitat.
    And actually the water in the river,
    contrary to popular belief, is much cleaner
    than people realize.
    - [Christian] Wow.
    - [Marissa] Fishing, hiking along it, kayaking,
    all of that is safe.
    It's not the toxic body of water that
    sort of the media has made it seem.
    These trees, this habitat, wasn't here a few decades ago.
    This is because of advocates at, like, FoLAR.
    We're making progress and we hope to see more
    of this sort of environment along the river.
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