In late October, Planet Expert Benjamin Kay provided photographic and video evidence of a yearly Southern California phenomenon: The First Flush.

The First Flush is an event comprised of two opposing forces: The beauty and relief that comes with the first rain of the season, and the disgust and sorrow that comes with the urban garbage it flushes out.


This past Thanksgiving weekend, Los Angeles enjoyed another downpour, one of a mere handful during California’s ongoing drought. Though a boon to our parched farmlands, this second major rain of the season has produced a Second Flush, and Benjamin Kay has more footage to share.

These photos, taken around the mouth of Santa Monica’s Pico Kenter Storm Drain System, show how the system is failing to prevent the city’s clumps of trash from washing into the ocean. This plastic effluence will eventually be taken by the tide and join the Great Pacific Garbage Gyre, an enormous collection of microplastic and trash in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.


To prevent this garbage from contaminating California’s beautiful beaches, Team Marine has created a petition to install a boom net at the mouth of the Pico Kenter Storm Drain.


Though Santa Monica has thus far done a commendable job in implementing litter reduction policies, underground storm drains do not recognize city boundaries. The immediate deployment of a boom net will catch the trash that our cities are missing, and hopefully spread awareness of this problem’s magnitude.


Pollution poses not only an eyesore but a health hazard to our beloved California beaches. Toxins can adhere to plastic refuse and accumulate in marine life over time – the very same marine life that can end up on our plates.


By signing our petition, you can take a small but significant step in stopping this yearly befoulment of our beaches. Team Marine has documented First and Second Flushes for seven years now, raising awareness of this disgusting deluge in hopes that more active measures will be taken to prevent it. Join us and help to clean up this mess.


Just imagine what this could look like without plastic getting in the way.

10731116_10101117932705996_6769055065086095502_nPhotos and video courtesy of Benjamin Kay


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One Response

  1. Thomas says:

    Amazing, thank you for sharing. A few years back in an Oceanography class a few years ago I remember my Professor talking about this. So sad.

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