For folks living in Southern California, the beach is where we go for sunshine, exercise and escape. But right now, some of the beaches look more like landfills.
Here in Playa del Rey, it's littered with bottles of urine, hypodermic needles – and even the carcass of a dog.
"It's very disgusting," said Angela, a beachgoer.
"It's definitely gross," said Andrew, another beachgoer. "I like to swim every day."
Lucy Han, a Playa del Rey resident and co-founder of a community nonprofit called Friends of the Jungle, says the piling mess stems from the growing homeless population in the area. Some of the unhoused people live in RVs along the nearby Jefferson Boulevard. Neighbors claim the unhoused people are dumping trash into the drains.
Han is helping spearhead a solution: the Interceptor.
The Interceptor is described as a solar-powered trash-eating machine. It looks like a boat out Ballona Creek. But the machine would stop litter from entering the ocean and onto the beach.
"I think anything to help would be great," said Angela Castrogiovanni, a Playa del Rey resident.
Han said more than 500 residents and organizations are on board.
"California Fish and Wildlife – we’ve got a lot of organizations," Han said. "The California Coastal Commission, environmental organizations as well as more than 500 people who use the beach and want to make sure it’s a clean beach."
But some are lukewarm to the idea – saying it could be noisy, smelly and possibly hurt marine life or block their epic sunsets.
"I’m all for it but the cons, I suppose, are the potential noise and the eyesore," said Andrew Tarpey, a Playa del Rey resident. "These people pay a lot of money for their property and property tax and they don’t want this great big damn thing obstructing their views to Malibu and Palos Verdes and stuff like that, but there’s probably no reason why it couldn’t be placed further back down the creek where nobody’s disadvantaged."
But Han explains it has to go here. It's the only place where the water is deep enough, and it provides accessibility for maintenance. That is, of course, if the Interceptor gets the green light.
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