Skip to Content

Thousands of Face Masks and Gloves Are Washing up on L.A.’s Beaches

[dropcap size=big]A[/dropcap] car bumper, a dead raccoon, 15 tennis balls, socks, and miles upon miles of personal protective equipment from Malibu to Redondo Beach were among the concerning list of items that washed up on L.A. County beaches after the season’s first storm rolled in. 

Specifically, face masks and gloves, a representative from Heal the Bay tells L.A. Taco. “Volunteers [collected] several PPE face masks along the high tide line, and this is the first year PPE has been found during the first flush.” The environmental advocacy group of activists based in Santa Monica, California, held a volunteer cleanup effort the day after the storm. The team of “first responder volunteers” is known as the Storm Response Team and their goal is to remove trash and debris before it heads out to sea.

This is on top of the usual garbage pieces that their volunteers also reported to collect: plastic bags, plastic bottles, bottle caps, food wrappers, containers, Styrofoam pieces, and coffee cups. However, while this first downpour brought in the most concentrated amounts of PPE yet, Heal the Bay informs L.A. Taco that their volunteer team has reported up to 2,000 pieces of personal protective equipment over the last six months. 

As all L.A. restaurants continue to operate via takeout and delivery only per L.A. County Health orders, “mountains of trash” are also being produced. Personal protective equipment is also washing up on the beaches of northern California. While there are no exact numbers on just how much of this protective gear meant to protect against COVID-19 is ending up on California’s shores, a study published last summer by Environmental Science & Technology estimates “a significant portion” is ending up in the world’s oceans.

Photos courtesy of Heal the Bay. 

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from L.A. TACO

Protester Whose Testicle Exploded After LAPD Officer Shot Him with ‘Less Lethal’ Firearm Receives $1.5 Million Settlement

Benjamin Montemayor had been protesting on Hollywood Boulevard for several hours on June 2, 2020, when at least 50 police officers descended upon his group and began firing munitions at the crowd, according to his civil rights lawsuit filed in Los Angeles federal court.

May 17, 2024

Westlake’s Oldest Gay Bar Set to be Demolished

Opened in the early 1960s, the Silver Platter has long been known as a safe space for immigrant gay and transgender communities in Westlake. The building dates back to the 1920s.

May 17, 2024

What To Eat This Weekend Around L.A.: Salvadoran Fried Chicken Sandwiches, 48-Hour Pho, and Tacos Placeros

Plus, a new Enrique Olvera-approved monthly "mercadito" in D.T.L.A., a new arepa spot with patacon burgers that use fried plaintains for buns, and more in this week's roundup.

May 17, 2024

The 13 Best Tacos In Boyle Heights

Boyle Heights is arguably the city’s most important local taco galaxy in the larger taco universe that is Los Angeles. Remember, this is Boyle Heights! It's not East L.A., and it is most definitely not just some vague place known as “the Eastside.”

May 16, 2024

Here Are All the Restaurants (and the One Taquería In the Entire Country That Got a Star) On Michelin’s First Ever Mexico Guide

Europe's Michelin Guide recognized both Baja Californias, Quintana Roo, Mexico City, Oaxaca, and Nuevo Léon. Most of the usual nice restaurants got stars, but there were some questionable omissions. Also, in a country teeming with life-changing street food, only one taquería in the entire country was awarded "1 star."

May 15, 2024
See all posts