Blue Water Task Force, Youth, Plastic Pollution, Bag Bans
November 30 2011

BWTF Students Paddle Out for a Bag Free LA

by Mara Dias

Samohi Students Paddle Out for a Bag-Free LA 

Press Release by Jessica Kendall-Bar  (Senior at Santa Monica High School, Co-President of the Heal the Bay Surfrider Club)

On Saturday, November 19th, the students of the Heal the Bay Surfrider Club organized a “Paddle Out for a Bag Free LA” to draw attention to the current state of our beaches and the poor results of recent water quality testing by the club. This Paddle Out was modeled on the annual paddles the Surfrider Foundation has held in support of cleaner water.  The students received support from their adviser Benjamin Kay, Heal the Bay volunteers, the LA County Lifeguards, and the Aqua Surf school which donated boards and wetsuits for the students to use in the paddle. Team Marine and the Surf Team, two other Samohi clubs, also participated. The students congregated in the water to show their support for the Plastic Bag Ban for the greater Los Angeles area and cleaner ocean water in general.

On October 5th, the first heavy rains of winter broke through the sand bar created to form a barrier between the polluted Pico-Kenter storm drain and the ocean. This led to many tons of water from our storm drains pouring onto the beach and into the ocean. The Heal the Bay Surfrider Club runs the “Teach and Test” water testing program which provides water quality results used by various businesses in Santa Monica, to show the levels of Enterococcus bacteria in the ocean water and indicate the risk of disease after exposure to it. The results that day showed that there were over ten thousand bacterial colonies in every one hundred milliliters of ocean water. This outcome shows the direct impact of LA's runoff can have on the ocean and human life.

For several years, Santa Monica High School's environmental clubs worked tirelessly with other non-profits to establish the plastic bag ban in Santa Monica. Through this event, the Heal the Bay Surfrider Club hopes to push Los Angeles City toward following in Santa Monica's footsteps and ban plastic bags.

Check out this earlier post w/ images of all the trash flowing to the beach with the storm runoff.


The Blue Water Task Force (BWTF), presented by Emergen-C Blue®, helps local chapters alert citizens and officials in their communities about water quality issues and works to implement solutions. As clean water becomes an increasingly scarce resource, Emergen-C Blue is committed to supporting, enhancing, and extending the efforts of the BWTF by donating 20 cents for every box sold to further the important work being done to improve water quality. For more information about Emergen-C Blue and the Emergen-C Fund, please visit .