Mussel Rockstars Face Challenges

How inappropriate to call this planet Earth when it is quite clearly ocean” Arthur C Clarke

23 February 2019

Multiple Projects, Ongoing!

Rockstars in Action Today

While Chris, in the foreground, held down the fort with 37 volunteers in the field, Helen walked a mile along Westline Drive, dragging an industrial magnet. The magnet picked up ferrous metal bottle caps, screws and nails. To the left and above is Jeff who used orange safety ropes to investigate the exposed landfill. (There had been a tragic landslide north of Fort Funston the day prior, so with that in mind, no-one went to the beach today. Landslides are more likely to occur after heavy rains). Jeff added to his collection of landfill items, such as plastic train tickets and toy soldiers, that he will show at our next Earth Day Eco-fest Plastic Corral. There were pre-1960s glass bottles from this landfill; probably because there were no recycling centers for glass or plastic at that time.


We were delighted to meet a group of 17 teenagers and 2 deacons from St. Andrew’s Catholic Church in Daly City. They returned to this site after first volunteering last February. Sharyn and Michele arrived and worked with these other volunteers to count and weigh the trash.

We collected 800 cigarette butts. This is less than usual and may be due to the city distributing bark, from fallen trees, everywhere, probably covering up many cigarette butts. Several large items of interest came to our attention: a small kids’ plastic water chute, a fire extinguisher and many black bags dumped behind the guard rail. Today, the total weight of trash collected and destined for landfill weighed in at 271 lb.


Mussel Rock sits at a site that offers a strange and complex view of our civilization in the late 20th century up to 1974. Landfills of dubious recognition, probably illegal, sit below most of Mussel Rock car park. Meanwhile historical, charted landfills sit beneath the vast area of open land and the soaring cliffs that rise above it. From whence mattresses and whole kitchens, pulled out during remodeling, were cast. The city of Daly City is monitoring these areas on file, but not the areas that are not charted.

Plastics sit in both these areas, waiting for when future erosion will reveal them. However, the site also receives additional plastic from the ocean, from tsunamis in Japan, oceanic shipping disasters, and also people dumping trash today, inland. Plastic is slowly moving in two opposite directions, here. Mussel Rock is clearly more than just a site in motion due to seismic complexity. It contains tons of plastic that one day will move and “drop off the cliff” attributed to a community that did not know better, or turned a blind eye.