1 Million pounds of trash removed from San Diego River

by on October 23, 2009 · 4 comments

in Environment, Ocean Beach, San Diego

SanDiego River MV

San Diego River - Mission Valley Preserve.

by Ed Joyce / KPBS / October 23, 2009

The San Diego River Park Foundation says it expects to reach a milestone at a river clean-up event Saturday. The group estimates it’s removed one million pounds of trash from the San Diego River over the past four years.

Volunteers with the San Diego River Park Foundation now spend 30 weekends a year removing garbage along the river from Santee to the river mouth at Ocean Beach.

Rob Hutzel is the Foundation’s executive director.

“Shopping carts and tires and refrigerators, kind of the things you expect,” Hutsel says. “But then you also get these small little slot machines and other things that happen. It’s kind of bizarre each time we kind of find new things we’ve never seen before along the river.”

He estimates that volunteers remove about 5,000 pounds of trash from the river each month.

“We like to say that the river is clean but it’s not healthy,” Hutsel says. “And what that means is that we really don’t have a lot of pollution coming into the river but we’ve re-engineered the river over the last 50 years and so it doesn’t function very well.”

Hutsel says a smaller group of volunteers picks up river garbage during the week.

He says by this time next year the Foundation will reach its goal of removing trash from more than 300 locations it surveyed in 2008.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Margaret October 23, 2009 at 4:16 pm

I am curious, do they do anything with the trash that may have some value like selling it for scrap, etc to fund their work?

And how do slot machines find their way to the San Diego River?

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avatar Dave Gilbert October 24, 2009 at 1:33 pm

Haven’t you ever noticed all those coins in our fountains and ponds? Those slot machines risk life and limb (well, 1 arm) to swim upstream every year where they face untold hazards just to make their way into the casino’s fountains and ponds where they spawn and then die. It’s all part of nature.

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avatar Margaret October 24, 2009 at 3:15 pm

Yes, I should have realized it was a spawning issue. Good one.

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avatar obbro October 24, 2009 at 7:13 pm

Good one guys! Funny about spawning slots. A lot of what is found during river cleanups is house junk and construction materials/litter. People just throw stuff into the river and habitat instead of going to the landfill. The folks you see going through dumpsters finding stuff then import it to the river where they live and they in turn create the other majority of what we find. Carpeting, mattresses, food and drink containers, latrine matter, tents and camp gear. On and on. Very little is “scrap worthy” it’s all stuff you’d see out at the Miramar Landfill. The movement to clean up our river is growing. 1,000,000 F’n Lbs!Congrats to our awesome volunteers!

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