SANTA CRUZ ISLAND, Calif. - We've heard of a floating island of trash in the Pacific. But it turns out, we've had our own island of trash in the Santa Barbara Channel.
Twenty six volunteers spent last Thursday boating to Santa Cruz Island to pick up trash. The group plucked debris from a half mile stretch of beach along Chinese Harbor -- most of it was plastic.
Their excursion was videotaped and shared with NewsChannel.
Bags of trash were loaded on kayaks, then hauled to the Ventura Harbor where they weighed in at more than 900 pounds. "It's amazing how much trash we pick off these islands," said Alex Brodie of Island Packers. "Some of it you can tell is generated locally, but some travels all the way across the ocean."
The key organizers were Santa Barbara Adventure Company, Island Packers and Santa Barbara Channelkeeper. "These local eco and business tours get the community out and allow us to enjoy and have these experiences in our underwater parks and our marine protected areas," said Ben Pitterle with Channelkeeper. "The day is about giving back to the environment."
Last year, the volunteers collected roughly 400 pounds of trash. They say it's impossible to know how much of the trash originated from Japan after the devastating tsunami.
Channel Islands Outfitters, Environmental Defense Center, Aqua Sports, NOAA National Marine Sanctuary, Channel Islands National Parks, and Save
the Mermaids also participated in the annual event.