A dead rooster with its head cut off was arguably the weirdest find Saturday at 's 23rd annual Coastal Cleanup Day, an event that led to the removal of 38,598 pounds of debris from Los Angeles County beaches.
The farm animal was uncovered at, and was likely a remnant of a voodoo or Santeria ritual, event organizers said.
Tara Treiber, Heal the Bay education director, said Santa Monica's beach trash is usually lightweight, but includes bits off Styrofoam and cigarette butts that contain petroleum chemicals harmful to marine and wildlife. Once eaten, the chemicals enter the food chain, threatening human health.
, more than 9,323 participants scoured local beaches, inland waterways, regional parks and urban neighborhoods at 58 sites throughout the county, covering 56 miles of terrain.
Michael Goddard of Santa Monica spent part of his Saturday picking up rubbish along the beachfront bike path.
"I could have gone to a movie, but I would have felt guilty," he said.
Farther down the beach, Billie Days bent down to pick up a piece of trash.
"I wanted to do something different in my life," she said. "I wanted to make a difference."
Sites spanned the entire county this year. SCUBA dive teams canvassed under the Santa Monica, Malibu and Redondo Beach piers and off Long Beach, while a flotilla of kayakers removed trash from Marina del Rey. A contingent of mountain bike riders went off road in Malibu Creek to haul away pounds of man-made detritus.
Other unusual objects uncovered at the cleanups: a dead cat found in a bag at Ken Malloy Harbor Regional Park; a rifle barrel, later confiscated by police that was found by divers in the water off Redondo Beach Pier; and a 25-gallon container filled with oil sludge, dumped near a creek in Agoura Hills. And in the “Only in L.A.” file: a tattered headshot of an aspiring actor found by divers on the sea bottom near the Santa Monica Pier.
“Code Red” locations in need of special attention this year included Dominguez Channel and Ken Malloy Harbor Regional Park. These urban sites drain runoff from huge swaths of Los Angeles County and are overwhelmed by such litter as plastic bags and fast-food packaging.
More volunteer opportunities are available at healthebay.org.
— Did you participate in today's beach cleanup? Upload your pictures or tell us about the event in the comments!