San Diego continues cleanup campaign; 500 tons collected since September
- The "Clean SD" initiative has seen over 500 tons of trash, litter and other debris removed from public spaces in San Diego since Sept. 2017, as reported by KPBS.
- Paul Brencick Sr., a spokesperson for the City of San Diego, told Waste Dive the collected material, largely from homeless encampments, includes tarps, mattresses, shopping carts and building material. City staff operate the packer truck used for collection, he said, and contractors provide workers for moving the material.
- All of the collected trash is sent to San Diego's Miramar Landfill, and the material is not in good enough shape to recycle, Brencick said.
After starting as a pilot in May 2017, the "Clean SD" program has since expanded to include larger swaths of the city. In part, the program is meant to target illegal dumping, an issue San Diego and other cities have had to work to overcome. In total, the program has cleared over 1,000 tons of material, according to the city. This includes thousands of mattresses and box springs, and 170 appliances.
As of mid-April, the removal effort has included 99 tons of trash being removed from over 30 sites along the San Diego River. This has included the city having to work with private property owners, who can take advantage of a free service from the city to have their land cleaned, or face a fine for leaving waste in place.
San Diego's mayor told CBS San Diego the people living in the encampments being cleared will need "one-on-one attention" to find solutions. The river cleanup was spurred in part by warnings from the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board that it could impose fines on the city if the waterway remained unclean.
Like in San Diego, mitigating and preventing illegal dumping has become something of a priority in cities like Los Angeles and Philadelphia. Philadelphia plans to spend $1.4 million annually to clean up illegal dumping and is looking at new prosecuting tools, and Los Angeles is collecting data through its "Clean Streets Initiative" to combat the practice.
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