As we reach the halfway point of the 2016 calendar year, garbage and waste has been in the forefront across the Bay Area. Today we are going to take a look a several stories and how they stand to impact their respective communities.
San Francisco – Ocean Beach
Residents in the Outer Sunset/Richmond Districts are expressing their frustration with an initiative by the National Parks Service aiming to decrease the amount of litter at Ocean Beach. The seemingly disadvantageous plan, which was set into place in early November of 2015, involved removing 9 out of 19 trash bins along the beach in hopes that visitors would be more apt to take their trash away from the beach and dispose of it at home or elsewhere. The Parks Service cites successes at both Baker Beach and Marin County’s Stinson Beach as reasons for bringing the plan to one of the cities most popular destinations.
Ocean Beach Trash Can Experiment Irks Neighbors. Watch our 5pm coverage here: https://t.co/u1usRhXUZS
— Mark Matthews (@MarkMatthewsNBC) June 22, 2016
Although the Park Service is reporting that maintenance crews are seeing less trash, locals beg to differ. Ocean Beach residents are noticing trash continue to pile up around the trash bins that are left, indicating that visitors are not getting the message to take responsibility for their own waste. Regardless of the complaints, the Park Service plans of sticking with the plan at least until the end of the summer season, but are open to bringing the trash bins back should maintenance crews confirm the sentiments of locals.
San Francisco – Mission District
Last weekends Dyke March, and long running festival celebrating the cities’ LGBTQ community, drew criticism from Rec & Park workers once the attendees dispersed and left them to pick up an excessive amount of trash blanketing Dolores Park. This year’s event adds more fuel to the already contentious relationship between those in charge of maintaining the newly renovated park and visitors.
About freaking time! People, please do yourselves and the rest of us a favor: Don't trash our city! Seriously,… https://t.co/RQRg52ZUpP
— jgsf1987 (@jgsf1987) June 28, 2016
In all, 25 workers worked long hours starting late Saturday evening to deal the trash, continuing to work through the weekend. One worker, expressing his frustration in a Facebook post, noted that it took 13 Rec & Park employees a total of 86.5 hours to clean up the trash left behind by festival goers. While Rec & Park representatives have pointed at progress since the $20.5 million dollar renovation, which added more bathrooms, increased recycling capacity, and funded a Leave No Trace-style “Love Dolores” campaign, some are quick to point out last weekends gathering that the initiatives are not doing enough to deal with the problem.
Santa Clara County – Milpitas
A waste collection war rages on in Milpitas, specifically over where trash from the city gets dumped. City council recently voted to have waste transported to a south San Jose landfill, opting to not use the nearby Newby dump. Complicating the issue is Republic Services, the cities’ longtime waste collection company nearing the end if their 30-year contract with the city (the city is currently reviewing bids from 4 waste collection companies, including Republic Services). The company’s legal team succeeded in collecting enough signatures to add a referendum to the Nov. 8th ballot, thus giving Milpitas residents the ability to decide where their trash gets sent. Given the Republic Services operates the Newby dump, it is in their best interest to fight the decision.
— Amit Singh (@amitsinghucsb) June 16, 2016
The council’s decision is influenced by complaints from Milpitas residents of the odors emanating from the Newby dump, hoping that moving the waste to San Jose will help. Unfortunately for Milpitas, it looks as if San Jose residents are not going to take the waste diversion towards their city lying down. Over 6,000 signatures have been collected urging the city of San Jose to take action, expressing worry over how the estimated extra 22 to 37 truckloads of trash will effect traffic congestion, property value, and overall quality of life.