LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and thousands of volunteers picked up trash, painted over graffiti and worked to spruce up the banks of the Los Angeles River Saturday in what a mayoral aide called the biggest river cleanup in city history.

More than 5,000 people participated in The 22nd annual Great Los Angeles River Cleanup which started at 9 a.m.. Among those scheduled to pitch in were actors Daphne Zuniga, Esai Morales and Sharon Lawrence. Other volunteer groups met at various points along 50 mile river from its headwaters in the San Fernando Valley to where it flows into the ocean at Long Beach.

According to a statement released by mayoral aide Rachel Kruer, it was the “largest river cleanup in the city’s history.”

“Cleaning up the L.A. River is a worthwhile endeavor that captures the positive spirit of volunteerism,” Villaraigosa said. “It’s truly inspiring to see how much this river means to the people of Los Angeles.”

Organizers were hoping that 25 tons of garbage would be pulled out of the river and its tributaries. In past years, a phone booth, sauna and a car were among the items removed from the river.

In 2007, the city adopted a 20-year plan for revitalizing the river, which is actually little more than a concrete irrigation channel, although for many it remains a dream.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

Comments (14)
  1. Thomas Bleming says:

    I’ve read that about 25 percent of the Pacific Ocean consists of plastic bottles and all sorts of plastic junk which originated from the west coast of the United States.
    This junk is not bio-degradeable and continues to grow.
    It’s been said that within this century all of the Pacific Ocean will be a floating trash dump.-
    In two years the debris from Japan will reach the beaches of the West Coast.
    This debris will be highly radioactive.
    It’s going to be a real mess.

  2. TheWindrunner says:

    Apparently someone has trained the animals how to clean up their own cages.. Where do they think it comes from outer space?

  3. Ron says:

    You can bet MAYOR V’s only participation was for a PHOTO OP. That is the only reason he appears at any function, unless he is picking up FREE tickets.

    1. mike says:

      He didn’t do anything he just posed there we asked him if he would like to join and clean up but you used excuses like I have to be at other parts of the river and that I am not properly dressed I think if the shot the video of him cleaning the river also he’ll have a better look on media

  4. bubbles says:

    Thank you Mayor V, I for one appreciate the effort, I’ve lived in Los Angeles for 47 years and watched the population explode here, I know that was not an easy task. Photo op or not, I commend you and all that chimed in to help.

    1. Ron says:

      You have been blowing too many Bubbles, that it must have impaired your thought process or vision. Mayor V. did not do any of the work, he has the people do it for him. He is only concerned about the PR & the photo OP.

      But thank you very much to ALL the PEOPLE that actually rolled up their sleeves and DID the WORK. YOU are to be COMMENDED.

      What are you implying, that somehow Mayor V. helped the population explode in the last 47 years? Unless you mean the explosive growth of illegals, due to his support of anything UNION or the DEMOCRATIC agenda, he has done nothing POSITIVE or BENEFICIAL.

  5. mike says:

    Don’t say thank you to him he didn’t do nothing we asked him if he would like to join and help us clean up but he started using excuses I think the people that should be thanked is the people that organised this event and all of the volunteers

  6. Alexander says:

    I’m doing a project about the LA River can you help me. It’s for an enviremental Fair. Can i ask some questions

  7. Thomas Bleming says:

    To whom are you directing your question to?

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