SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) --Winter storms bring with them an ugly side effect like debris at the beach.
Piles of small plastic pieces and Styrofoam have littered San Francisco's Ocean Beach after being churned up by big waves and clean-up efforts can't keep up. "The most disconcerting thing are the little pieces of Styrofoam," San Francisco resident Miriam Smith said.
There are small pieces of Styrofoam in large amounts. And it's not just Styrofoam, but pieces of plastic have washed up on the beach as well. "It's in the ocean and being deposited. This isn't something that people are bringing to the beach and leaving behind," U.S. National Recreation Area spokesperson Alexandra Picavet said.
It actually happens year round, but it's worse now because of the rough weather. "We also at the same time had king tides and very big storms, so what was happening is the debris that normally gets deposited along the water's edge was being carried further up the beach," Picavet said.
Regulars at the beach are discouraged. "As citizens, we're using too many plastic things for our lifestyles and if we'd cut down on that, maybe there'd be less on the beaches," Rena Aiken said.
Clean-up can be a vicious cycle with the tide bringing in the trash and taking it away.
Aiken and her neighbors try to pitch in. "You just keep collecting as you go and hang out and collect and collect, but it's always there the next day," she said.
The U.S. National Recreation Area spokeswoman said any help is appreciated, but winter weather also means dangerous sneaker waves so safety should always come first. "There are storms that we're not seeing here, but they affect our beaches so be really careful. Never turn your back on the water," Picavet said.
A large beach clean-up effort is scheduled for Martin Luther King Day on Monday.