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.