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Bolsa Chica trash and toilet issue stinks

September 04, 2003

VIC LEIPZIG AND LOU MURRAY

Three weeks ago, California Department of Fish and Game biologist

Brian Shelton dropped a bombshell. He said that due to the state

budget crisis, the state agency would no longer be able to fund trash

removal and portable potties at the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve.

Unless outside funding could be found, these services would no

longer be provided. Because trash removal and a public restroom are

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so basic, the nonprofit groups affiliated with the Bolsa Chica

offered to try to come up with a solution.

With school groups coming to the Bolsa Chica on a regular basis,

and heavy visitation from the general public, the portable potties

need servicing twice a week to keep them usable. This is not a small

expense. None of the nonprofits associated with the Bolsa Chica --

the Amigos de Bolsa Chica, the Bolsa Chica Land Trust, the Bolsa

Chica Conservancy, the Bolsa Chica Foundation or the Bolsa Chica Land

Stewards -- felt that they were in a financial position to pay for

these most basic and necessary services at both parking lots on a

regular monthly basis.

Alexia Swanepoel, the coordinator of the Amigos de Bolsa Chica,

asked Rainbow Disposal if it would be willing to donate trash removal

services. Fortunately, Rainbow agreed. Whenever a group needs trash

hauling, it seems that Rainbow is right there willing to lend a hand.

We can't think of another local corporation that gives so much back

to the environmental community, unless maybe it is the Boeing

Employees Community Fund.

In an ideal world, the public that visits the Bolsa Chica would

haul out everything that they bring in. But this is not an ideal

world. Back in 1990 when Vic and I were nursing the Bolsa Chica

Conservancy through its first year of existence, there was an open

trash barrel at the end of the boardwalk and a small dumpster located

closer to the entrance. Even with two receptacles, trash was

everywhere.

No one was assigned from the Department of Fish and Game to pick

up the trash that was inevitably left lying in the parking lot. Vic

and I got together a group of volunteers to monitor the parking lot

on a weekly basis. It was usually Jim Robins, Phil Smith, Chuck

Drescher and me who walked around the lot picking up soft drink

containers, burger wrappers, condoms and dirty diapers. It was

shocking to see all the things that were tossed onto the ground, and

sad to see how cavalierly the public treated this beautiful area.

Over the past 13 years, volunteers from the Conservancy have

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