Written by: Molly Goforth, Imperial Beach resident*

I am a wife, a mother, a surfer and a resident of Imperial Beach. I grew up in the waves of the Pacific and years ago made the decision to move to Imperial Beach. There has always been a draw to this little beach town for me. IB is the beach we are raising our children on. For many days out of the year our dream has been realized. But unfortunately for many more days during the year that is not our reality. The sewage crisis in our ocean has grown out of control. You can smell the odor blowing with the sea breezes.  We can no longer take our kids surfing without checking water quality several times per day. We don’t walk our dog on the beach when the signs are up.

My serene place in IB is a lonely bench in between two of the biggest metropolitan cities on the West Coast, San Diego and Tijuana.  It’s ironic that in the close distance millions of people are living and breathing and I bet this bench doesn’t see more than a dozen people a day. If you’ve ever been lucky enough to wander down to have a rest, you’ve witnessed some of the most beautiful land in all of Southern California.

The estuary is full of wildlife, birds that cannot be found anywhere else in the world, and a landscape that takes you back in time. Back to a time when things were simpler, and less developed. I come here to relax and open my mind. I’ll enjoy this view while out on a run with my dog or let my kids take a breather when we are riding bikes. My family has visited this bench too many times to count.

Amongst the sewage chaos that spills through the estuary and into the Pacific, this bench still sits quietly. This is just one aspect of my fight, it needs a voice!

Late spring in 2017, the foul stench was so horrific I had enough. I gathered with a group of local families to hold our own beach cleanup in protest the sewage issues that were being blatantly ignored.

We walked to the Tijuana River mouth and took pictures with our children. We tried to make our voices, and the voices of our children be heard. While the hard fight continues today, voices are being heard and I am so proud of the people who continue the fight. I’m fighting to keep the estuary alive. I am fighting for a clean ocean. I am fighting for my children, my friends, my community.  I am fighting for clean water.

*#mycleanh2ostory is written by local activists who are fighting for clean water.