Residents of Riverside and Los Angeles counties collected just under 500 pounds of litter Jan. 27 during a hike that started at Martin Tudor Park and trailed up Mt. Jurupa.
The event was co-hosted by Trash Free Earth, a non-profit organization that travels to different cities and parks to clean up trash as a part of the #HikeInlandEmpire campaign.
Dulce Real, director of environmental education, said he works hand-in-hand with the organization’s president to help educate the public about environmental issues.
“To us, cleaning is not a solution. To us, prevention is,” Real said. “If we are able to educate our volunteers and community, that creates more of a consciousness when it comes to any future action that could take place.”
After the hike, Daisy Martinez, president of TFE, spoke to the volunteers about changes they could make in their
daily lives to help the environment.
One suggestion was to use personal glass straws at restaurants instead of using plastic ones.
Belen Martinez, Riverside resident, said she decided to volunteer after seeing advertisements from Hiking Inland Empire.
“This was fun, especially when you get to do it with people who think like you,” Martinez said. “You’re always aware of the trash around and so you start picking it up. You don’t think that you’re going to make a difference because there’s just so much but little by little, you make a change.”
Dr. Bonjun Koo, professor of environmental science at California Baptist University, said organizations such as Trash Free Earth help the environment because volunteers pick up items that would otherwise fall into the water supply.
“It’s a very good idea especially because of water pollution,” Koo said. “Always pick up your trash; it’s something we can all do, all over. A clean up effort is huge if we can do it.”
Jonah Lay, president of the Environmental Science Club at CBU, also pushed the importance of keeping the
environment free of trash.
“People don’t usually realize that if we litter on the street, it’s just going to end up in our water system,” Lay said. “That will come back and hurt not only us but our neighbors and so that’s a huge reason to keep our
Students are able to recycle using the recycling bins CBU has set up around campus.
“I try to find a purpose in what we do, so why do we do this? Part of it is our biblical mandate to help protect God’s creation,” Lay said. “It’s not only protecting the environment for the environment’s sake, it is protecting each
other as human beings.”
For more information on TFE or for future events interested persons can find the organization online at www.trashfreeearth.org.