Local beachcomber looks for treasure, finds trash - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Local beachcomber looks for treasure, finds trash

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - A 40-year-old credit card, a six-foot lounge chair, and enough masks, snorkels and fins to stock a dive shop. One local resident says the trash he finds on our beaches never ceases to amaze him.

Don Balch says picking up the trash gets him strange looks from others. But he's proof one person can make a big difference.

Photographer Don Balch pictures a day when there will be no trash on our beaches.

"This stuff never breaks down. I mean, this'll last for 100 years out there," Don said.

So the avid surfer and stand-up paddle-boarder makes it a point to always pick up other people's trash.

"You can come down every single day and pick up a bag full of trash. This is typical," he said.

Wednesday morning, Don and I went looking for trash around La Jolla Shores. It didn't take us long to find it. Over the years, Don has found some interesting treasures.

"You know, the fact I have this credit card that's made in 1965 or (1966) and hasn't broken down is… tells you something," Don said.

Don's coolest find was probably a bottle that he traced to 1936.

"They called it a hip flask. It's got indentations on it for carrying in your back pocket," he said.

And his craziest underwater find -- a lounge chair.

"I felt really good about getting that thing out of the ocean," he said.

Don hopes his actions rub off on his kids, to keep the tradition going. His message is simple.

"Be conscientious. Just if you see some trash, pick it up. Care about where you live," Don said.

Just spending one morning with Don has been an eye-opening experience, one that's actually taught me to leave not just with the trash I bring to the beach, but try to pick up other people's as well.

I hope you'll do the same thing.

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