By J.M. BROWN-Santa Cruz Sentinel
The Santa Cruz-based organization, which sponsors regular beach cleanups, announced its new “Extreme Cleanups” program after the hourlong operation Dec. 20 in the Collins Cove section of the beach. Director Laura Kasa said city staff will monitor the area weekly, then enlist her organization’s help whenever the cave or other specific sites need attention.
“Our job is not to scope these things out, but if there are issues, we can provide the volunteers to do the cleanup,” Kasa said.
The organization worked with city parks staff and police to access the site down a steep and slippery path. Wearing headlamps, face masks and gloves, Saves Our Shores staff and volunteers brought out 56 pounds of trash, including seven syringes, a dozen trash bags, razors, condoms, tampons, broken glass, 75 small cigar wrappers, and five pounds of human feces collected in buckets and dog-waste bags.
Until venturing into the dark recesses of the cave, Kasa said, “I’ve never been afraid in my job. I was afraid to go into that dark corner and see what was there.”
The problem of trash and drug refuse around Cowell’s came to the city’s attention in November after a surfing instructor filmed a four-minute video of the area, posted it online and, with the help of friends, hauled away truckloads of garbage. The video drew dozens of concerned citizens to the Nov. 27 City Council meeting and a forum hosted by its public safety committee Dec. 17.