I often ride my bike along Ballona Creek which has a wonderful bike path that takes you down to the beach at Playa Del Rey. If I am lucky I will see a Great Blue Heron or an Egret along its banks. At certain spots, you can watch Brown Pelicans trying their luck as they dive for fish at places where the salt water from the sea finds its way a bit inland. There are many things about Ballona that remind you it is still a creek even though its natural shores have been replaced by concrete ones.
After major rains however, it is all too obvious that its current purpose is mainly that of a flood channel, draining the impermeable surrounding streets and surfaces, and taking all the accumulated trash and toxins downstream and out to the ocean. Seeing the debris is an awful site and reminds me not only how far we have strayed from natures path, but what a god awful mess we have made of things.
The photos I posted here are from three separate bike trips after three different rainstorms along the creek. The first major rain of the year carries with it all the trash that has collected since the last rain of last season and so the quantities of plastic, styrofoam and invisible toxins is enormous.
There are two shots of the yellow boom that is located near Lincoln Blvd; it catches some of the floating trash, but exactly how much I am not sure. Those are Dept. of Public Works workers who regularly remove the trash shortly after each rainstorm.
The other boom shot I took the next morning after a big deluge so the workers didn’t have time to collect the garbage. The No Swimming sign seemed a bit ridiculous but I suppose they have to do it. Ten minutes later on my trip I photographed this Egret in the nearby Wetlands standing quietly in one of the tiny basins that zig-zag throughout the wetlands. Of course the wetlands used to be massive, but development has encroached on the them and diminished them all save some small protected areas, this Egret being in one of them.
The contrast between the two scenes was powerful, plastic and trash accumulations polluting the creek – so indicative of our modern throw away society and only a short distance from a serene and quiet landscape that could have been witnessed a couple of hundred years ago. Is it silly to wonder if we will ever get back to our senses? I hope not!