Coastal Fund Project Feature: Adopt-A-Block!
In the tiny yet highly populated coastal town of Isla Vista one issue has always remained prevalent: too many cars prevent street sweeping, which causes a buildup of trash in the streets and on the beach and ocean. Enter Adopt-A-Block, the only litter abatement program in Isla Vista. Year-round volunteers keep our local community and neighboring coastline trash-free by donating blocks of their time picking up plastic wrappers, bottles, cans and the most toxic and commonly littered of all, cigarette butts.
The program is run by Adopt-A-Block Supervisor Adam Porte, who shared with us his experiences and thoughts regarding the program's role in protecting our environment. Adopt-A-Block has put in 25,000 hours of community service over the past 3 years, employing education and outreach to promote a standard of respect for our local community and coast. The program's success is demonstrated by the recent 2014-2015 data regarding the annual sum of collected trash, revealing a remarkable downward trend in litter from 85,000 to 67,000 pounds of trash.
Because collecting trash is not the most glamorous activity, Adam mentions how he and the Adopt-A-Block Assistant, Ylse De Los Santos have been working to make the task more interesting. Current projects include a mobile app that geocaches trash-ridden locations, interactive cigarette butt receptacles, and oversized cigarette butt props placed in IV during Deltopia to raise awareness litter's impact on the environment.
While Adopt-A-Block has significantly influenced Isla Vista's attitude towards protecting the coast, Adam mentions that getting individual volunteers to get excited about the program is not an easy task. However, with enough time and information, Adam says that it is possible to encourage the community to get involved:
"It has been extremely rewarding to see someone that seems to not really care about the environment very much come back after one hour of Adopt-A-Block with a sense of urgency and energy to want to make a change. It has also been very rewarding to have a buy-in from organizations like Coastal Fund. Because of the monetary support that they have given us, it allows us to be more creative with our approach to proactive and reactive trash collection."
A huge thank you to Adam Porte and Adopt-A-Block's efforts to educate and encourage the protection of our local community and coast! Without this program and the tireless efforts of their staff and volunteers, our Isla Vista community and coastline would be not be the healthy, beautified place it is today.