Aliso Beach is a terrible place to leave a 40 ouncer. Tossing a bottle like that anywhere other than a trash can allows things like that to wash all the way down the creek and into our ocean playground. With the recent run of rain delivering storms (yes I know they are far and few allows between in Southern California), Aliso Creek is flowing into the water. With a steady stream of runoff, inevitably it picks up a wide variety of pollutants and trash. My hope is that one day people see the connection of inland communities to the health of the ocean. What we do from the mountains to the sea affects our marine ecosystems and water quality. I am guessing that most people are also not thrilled by the idea of entering the water and cutting a foot on glass either. That is why all beaches have a sign saying no glass containers on the beach!
The waves were decent as the textured onshore winds subsided and reversed to offshore late in the afternoon. It was very peaceful. As I often experience as an Aliso Beach Bodyboarder, I lost my board on a closed out wave. Chasing it down the beach in a swift moving current was a real challenge, and on more than one occasion I had to run half way down the beach to retrieve my board. On one occasion, I was trying to grab the board and there was an Old English 800 Malt Liquor 40 ounce bottle with its cap on rolling back out with the tide. I grabbed it before it could get hit by the next wave and tossed it towards a couple of gals taking in the sunset who saw me pick it up and offered to take it to the trash can for me. This type of trashing of the beach is alarming. At any time, the bottle could be broken into pieces by rocks that come tumbling down the creek in the force of the runoff. Broken glass and bodyboarders being pulverized into the shallows are not a good mix. I would be furious if I got cut because of glass in the water and that’s exactly what our littering behavior sets others up for. It’s not just me and its not just bodyboarders. How about the countless numbers of people that wade in the shallows barefoot at Aliso Beach. Their safety is equally as important.
In truth, I don’t know if this bottle came rolling down the creek from Aliso Viejo, or some deviant underage kids drinking on the beach and the tide got it. One way or another, the bottle ended up in a zone that could have seriously cut and injured someone, and we have to think about these things and do better. Fortunately the bottle cap on this 40 ouncer probably kept it more buoyant and spared it from the rocks below that would have broken it and made it more dangerous. There is a reason that beaches prohibit glass bottles on the beach and by the way, alcohol is also prohibited. Thinking about swimming among bottles should provide everyone a visual that highlights the potential for danger. If you have to indulge in a 40 ouncer at Aliso Beach, put it in a trash can please. There is no reason to create situations that endanger people that enjoy the waters here or at any beach. This experience is evidence that we must continue to do better with keeping trash out of the ocean whether inland or along the coast. Broken glass and bottles are not a welcome part of the ocean environment and unless we become more conscious of disposing of our trash, there are risks to those who frequent these waters. This problem is not unique to Aliso Beach. Any beach that has fresh water meet the ocean is prone to the presence of glass bottles and extra trash carried down river. Our efforts need to improve every where to protect our oceans. While some marvel at sea glass strewn beaches, it simply does not belong there!
Photo Credit: Scotty Carter