CSUN students from a Communications 323 class helped bring awareness to a problem afflicting the Los Angeles River.
The students chose to help clean up the Sepulveda Basin May 6, which is one of 15 problem spots along the river.
Jon Turner, junior leisure studies and recreation major, was the coordinator of the class project, adding that the group chose to help revitalize the Los Angeles River. He said he plans on continuing to help with cleanups in the future.
Other parts of the river include Griffith Park, Los Feliz and Alamitos Beach.
“I strive to get more of my fellow CSUN students more involved with our community,” Turner said. “I can help expose the students to some of the other great things going around them.”
The four students who worked with Turner were business finance majors Joe Rowser, Talin Minassian, Vera Zhuravleva and Yaniv Levi, and business management major Kevin Sykora.
Alex Ward, who is a member on the board of the Friends of the Los Angeles River, says the main purpose of the event was to bring awareness to the problems affecting the river. The intention of the assignment was to help out with an issue the students felt was socially significant.
The river is not considered safe for swimming.
“We are here to make an effort to clean up the trash. There are so many plastic bags littering the river,” Ward said.
Joe Linton, an outreach director who coordinated the event, says the government owns many various properties of the river, and that can sometimes pose a problem.
The sources of water come from the San Gabriel mountains and Colorado, Linton said. Only 15 percent, however, comes from the Los Angeles area, he said.
Ward said the main problem the river is facing is the trash in various areas.
“We are here today to make some kind of effort to clean this up,” he said.
“In 10 years from now, we are going to see a big difference in the Los Angeles river,” Linton said.
Pedro Natividad, a 72-year-old downtown Los Angeles resident, said he was shocked when he saw the river for the first time because it was all concrete.
“Ten years from now is a very short time to see very much improvement in the river,” he said, adding that the river is slowly improving. “When you (get) to my age you (will) see 10 years is nothing. ? It can get a little bit better but nothing dramatic.”
“An enormous amount of money has to (be) put into cleaning up the river, also some political effort with the community,” Natividad said. “In many things they are working together. However, it is getting more difficult regarding city and county. The city thinks they own it and the county thinks they also own it.”
Ruth Plenn, a 29-year-old Glendale resident, said she participated in the event to clean the river and make a difference.
“I am here as a volunteer to participate in the clean up,” Plenn said. “It is my first time here today. I think cleaning up the Los Angeles River is a wonderful way to give back to the community. You can also make a lot of friends.”