Yesterday I helped some folks from Take Back Aptos, The Clean Team, and Save our Shores to do a little clean up of Aptos Creek. I came totally unprepared, wearing shorts and blue Crocs. I figured we’d be cleaning the creek itself, just walking amongst the mossy rocks, picking up the odd bits of aluminum cans, plastic water bottles, and of course plastic bags.
I was surprised to see when I showed up that they had a huge dumpster to collect trash. “Do you really think we’ll get that much trash?” I asked. “Oh, sure, yes” they assured me.
It turns out, we couldn’t actually go down to the creek. They were having a wedding in Aptos Creek Park, and apparently they didn’t want to see a bunch of people passing by loaded down with garbage. So instead. we went over to the parking lot of the Kauboi Restaurant, and from there, went down underneath the bridge.
It’s a part of Aptos most people never get to experience – and that’s probably for the best. It’s a world where, I’m told, the homeless gather along with meth heads and junkies to do…whatever. We started by cleaning out the area right underneath the bridge – but that was small potatoes. We kept descending down further, and we pulled out all kinds of trash from down the ravine: chairs, appliances, a kid’s playhouse, clothes, mattresses – an amazing amount of garbage of all kinds.
I was pretty shocked to see that people have so little regard for the environment that they just toss this trash down into the ravine. But I’m told that this happens all throughout Santa Cruz county – anywhere there’s a ravine, there’s sure to be trash of all kinds tossed down there by folks grossly lacking in environmental consciousness. The homeless, meth heads, and junkies sure get a lot of bad press, much of which is I’m sure well deserved – but much of what we cleaned up yesterday was the handiwork of regular folks. I’m not sure which is sadder.