On April 23, 2023, USC’s Fieser Research Lab hosted its first beach cleanup at Alamitos Beach this year after helping the beach since May 2019. Fieser’s lab has collaborated with the Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies, Assignment Earth, and Annenberg Civic Engagement. Megan Fieser started Fieser Lab and helped host this cleanup with countless others. Bringing in over 96 volunteers, they have shown their dedication to helping the earth by beating their previous record of 34,000 pieces of trash.
Fieser’s lab has always prioritized picking up plastics and microplastics from the beach. Microplastics are plastics that have broken down to less than five millimeters. Not only are these plastics dangerous to aquatic life and the earth, but it’s dangerous to us as well. Since microplastics are about the size of a sesame seed, they go into our bloodstream and affect our health. Examples can range from bottle caps, toothpaste lids, and countless others that are broken so small we’re able to ingest them without knowing it.
Fieser Lab prioritizes picking up plastic and microplastics from the beach. To keep ourselves safe, we must keep the earth safe. They provided us with trash clamps, sifters, gloves, and bags, making trash easier to pick up. From the 96+ volunteers, USC split us all into groups of eight or fewer with the chance to win prizes such as reusable ziplock bags to tote bags. With all of the determined teams, Fieser lab and USC picked over 36,000 pieces of trash through their beach cleanups.
Overall, it was a fun experience to go and help clean a beach. It was fun having a competition to see who picks up the most trash while learning about the plastics left by other people. I learned a lot and saw several pieces of plastic, and Fieser Lab eventually had piles of bags from our cleanup. I had a great time there, and their next beach cleanup will be on June 12.
If you want to learn more, please check out their website here: