Unexpected Surplus of Volunteers for Beach Clean up

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Alexander Sarkis, 9, of Laguna Beach, found an abandoned portable BBQ and boogie boards. Seven-year-olds Owen and Charles Fouhy, also of Laguna, recovered a U.S. flag and plastic tablecloth. A 20-something woman from New York picked up a new dress with tags intact in a cave.

Volunteer Laurie Allen of Laguna Niguel came prepared for litter duty.
Volunteer Laurie Allen of Laguna Niguel came prepared for litter duty.

Others in the clean-up crew came across a large plastic sheet covered in human waste. “We immediately called OC parks and they came right away to remove the bio hazard from the beach,” said Chris Tebbutt, a realtor who organized the clean up with the Eco Warrior Foundation last weekend. More than 70 volunteers turned out and picked up 450 pounds of litter from 1,000 Steps Beach in South Laguna.

At a recent community meeting, parks workers described their struggle to maintain the beaches with inadequate staffing even as a rising number of visitors take to the local coves, said Tebbutt, a Berkshire Hathaway Homeservices realtor.

In response, Tebbutt decided to team up with James Pribram, whose foundation provided bags and gloves to volunteers. Coyote Grill donated breakfast burritos and gift certificates to participants. Tebbutt and Pribram hope to hold other cleanups at neighboring Tablerock and West Street beaches.

“I wanted it to be more than just another clean-up. I wanted to create an event that would strengthen our community and an opportunity for our neighbors to come out and get to know each other,” said Tebbutt, 45, who grew up in south county and moved to Laguna Beach a year ago after relocating with his husband and twin sons from New York City. He’s worked in real estate 25 years.

“Beachgoers have been somewhat of an issue this summer, with litter and parking availability, but can you blame visitors for wanting to visit our beautiful beaches? They are the most gorgeous beaches anywhere and I want to preserve them as they are.”

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