She’s been cleaning Mission Beach for 35 years. Here’s what she finds. – NBC 7 San Diego

If you’ve been to Mission Beach, you’ve seen the work of longtime resident Cathy Ives without realizing it.

Ives lived in Mission Beach on and off for 35 years. Seconds after seeing her and her home, which has become a sanctuary of items she left on local beaches, it’s clear she’s devoted herself to picking up after others.

Dana Williams

Cathy Ives at Mission Beach

“Nobody likes litter except people who litter, Ives said with a down-to-earth shrug.

Plastic beach toys, outdoor furniture, shoes, snowshoes, bicycle baskets, reusable cups and cups are just a few of the countless items Ives displays on his patio like trophies, won through his determination.

In 2008, Ives started blogging about waste and its impact on the environment. The trash she picked up became content for her blog, and soon she was hooked. Now she is part of an organization called Don’t Litter Mission Beach and is a leading force when it comes to keeping the busy beach clean for residents and tourists.

But, Ives admits, it’s not always a winning battle.

“You go there and say, ‘Wow, I did a great job. I cleaned it up,’ and you come the next day and it’s just as bad,” Ives said.

Every morning, hours before beachgoers fill the parking lots, Ives rakes the sand in search of forgotten items. She also tracks the type and quantity of items she collects. In a three-day holiday weekend, Ives claims, she picked up more than 800 bottles at Mission Beach.

According to Don’t Trash Mission Beach website, more than 87,000 pieces of waste have been picked up in the region so far this year. In 2021, there were 360,420; in 2020, this number was 118,734, and the previous year – 54,561 pieces.

“It was a horrible situation when I found injured seabirds and animals on the beach,” Ives said.

As for the reusable items she finds, such as towels and blankets, Ives takes them to a laundromat, cleans them and donates them to local organizations. She also returned countless lost phones, as well as phone chargers, headphones, credit cards and more.

So what drives Ives forward?

“We only have one earth,” Ives said, after pausing for a moment to reflect on her years of maintaining the community, “and we’re all connected.”

This story is part of Connect the Dots, a series that shows how seemingly unrelated aspects of our lives are connected to each other. Watch the video above to see the connections between surfing, student loans and grocery bags.

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