Diane Cheek, San Clemente

Are you familiar with Palking or Pogging? These are portmanteau words made by changing the first letter to P. Both mean the same thing: “Pick up trash while walking or jogging.” In my case, it’s walking—a simple but needed idea that I have decided to try and one I’d like to promote. I focus on plastic trash, but all debris is targeted.

The thing is, plastic has a unique distinction. Plastic does not decompose, which means it can hide in our shrubs, float in our ocean, blow in our gutters and pretty much hang around forever. It is well-documented that plastic trash has bloomed into a worldwide problem. It is clogging oceans, killing wildlife and littering public spaces.

In our community of San Clemente, especially, plastic trash can easily blow into the ocean or slip into our storm drains and float out to sea.

I admit I have become rather hardcore. I carry gloves and a carry bag and go hunting. I have found that just five minutes in a parking lot can yield plastic bottle tops, plastic straws, plastic drink cups and lids, plastic water bottles, candy wrappers, chip bags and the ubiquitous plastic bag.

This new practice of Palking has heightened my awareness as I hope it will yours. April 22 is Earth Day, but, really, every day is Earth Day.

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