San José breaks record in 2014 for litter removal in Bay Area

San José, CA, has made ongoing efforts to prevent trash from entering and contaminating local waterways and the San Francisco Bay Area. City staff, community groups and volunteers reached a record-breaking year in 2014 for litter removal by retrieving 163 percent more than in 2013.

SAN JOSE, CA, March 9, 2015 -- Throughout the years, the city of San José, Calif., has made ongoing efforts to prevent trash from entering and ultimately contaminating local waterways and the San Francisco Bay Area. As such, city staff, community groups and volunteers reached a record-breaking year in 2014 for litter removal by retrieving 163 percent more than in 2013.

More than 6,000 volunteers, participating at 115 cleanup events, collected 654 tons of litter from streets and creeks throughout San José -- the equivalent to the volume of about 44 semi-trucks. The combined cleanups have had a dramatic impact on the quality of life and environment in the South Bay.

The amount of trash collected in 2014 is largely attributed to increased efforts by groups that partner with San José. A new community group -- Restore Coyote Creek Project -- had an impressive year by mobilizing hundreds of volunteers for cleanups, including residents and San José State University students.

In addition to community cleanup events, San José staff and volunteers also conduct annual cleanup activities at 32 creek "hotspot" litter locations since 2010. The results of these efforts are regularly reported to the State Water Resources Control Board. The trash collected at 10 hotspot locations is sorted and categorized. In 2014, the most common items were paper, plastic and glass fragments, and food wrappers.

The cleanup events are coordinated by community groups that receive funding from ESD, San José Housing Department, and Santa Clara Valley Water District. Funding support has helped Friends of Coyote Creek, Friends of Los Gatos Creek/Guadalupe River, Restore Coyote Creek Project, Creek Connections Action Group, Downtown Streets Team, and the city's own Anti-Litter Program in the Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services Department.

In 2009, the State Water Resources Control Board required all Bay Area cities and stormwater agencies to develop actions to reduce litter from storm sewer systems by 40 percent by 2014, 70 percent by 2017 and 100 percent by 2022. Litter cleanup efforts in San José will increase in the coming years as part of the city's long-term litter reduction plan. Residents, businesses and visitors can get involved by visiting www.sjenvironment.org/stoplitter.

See also:

"S.F. Bay water quality, wetlands to be improved with $5M EPA grants"

"San Francisco stormwater project features gray-green combined approach"

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