Liquid News

Volunteers Clean San Diego Creek of Trash

Plastic bags by the hundreds, cigarette butts by the thousands, soda cans and cups, fishing line, bottles and bottle caps, tennis balls and construction debris – all were pulled out of San Diego Creek during Inner-Coastal Watershed Cleanup Day on Saturday, September 25.

More than 175 volunteers braved triple-digit heat to comb the banks of San Diego Creek for trash outside the gates of IRWD’s Michelson Water Recycling Plant. After four hours, two trash bins were brimming over with all manner of trash and recyclables.

 IRWD has hosted a cleanup site for the past 11 years.  Inner-Coastal Watershed Cleanup Day held in conjunction with Coastal Cleanup Day, is in its 14th year.  The goal is to clean garbage from creeks and streams before it reaches the shore. The IRWD site was one of 23 countywide.

The majority of IRWD’s volunteers were students from Northwood High School, whose environmental science teachers award extra credit for participation in the cleanup. Everyone fanned out within the span of a mile along the creek banks. It’s not unusual to find shopping carts in the creek, along with tires, construction barricades and vehicle parts. Some volunteers did find a shopping cart, but it was submerged so deep in muck they couldn’t dislodge it. One couple even found an unopened bottle of cabernet sauvignon. Another group found a mattress.

Dylan Thomas, 17, is a senior at Northwood High School who found a long board he braced next to the trash bin. After filling up one bag with trash, he was headed back out to pick up more.

“This is just a good thing to do,” he observed. “I would be here to help out whether or not I was getting credit.”

IRWD employee Scott Beltran participated with his children, Christian, 10, and Madison, eight. He has brought the children to the event since they were very young to teach them about environmental stewardship.

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