Save the Bay released its sixth annual list of Bay Trash Hot Spots on Wednesday. The places on the list are such major contributors to the flow of junk into San Francisco Bay that they actually violate the Clean Water Act. Here are the offenders:
- Coyote Creek in San Jose
- Damon Slough in Oakland
- The Hayward shoreline
- Baxter Creek in Richmond
- San Tomas Aquino Creek in Santa Clara
You can see photos and take a"Hot Spot or Not?" challenge at Save the Bay's website.
All of these places, and many more -- at least 800 more, in fact -- are on the list for the annual Coastal Cleanup Day this Saturday, September 15, organized by the California Coastal Commission.
Save the Bay's executive director David Lewis says this isn't industrial waste. "The trash is everyday items, plastic bags, Styrofoam food containers, cigarette butts," he said. "These are all part of the urban trash that gets into the storm drains, and flows through creeks, and discharges into the Bay. It's not treated -- there are very few areas in the Bay where storm water is treated like sewage; most of it flows directly into the Bay. "
But Lewis says the emphasis needs to be on stopping the trash before it gets into the system.
"We really applaud the cities and counties who are doing things like passing bans on single-use plastic bags and food containers. Those are a big part of the trash that gets into the Bay. If we stop trash at the source, less of it will get into the Bay where it affects food and wildlife and is a huge blight on our shoreline. It's actually part of an international problem of marine debris in the oceans."
Meanwhile, back at the California Coastal Commission, organizers are wondering if this will be the year that debris from the 2011 tsunami in Japan begins showing up in volunteers' collections. Paul Rogers, writing in the Mercury News today, reports that pieces of houses and items with Japanese writing on them have already been showing up along the California coast. If tsunami artifacts do turn up, volunteers are asked to turn them over to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for analysis. There's no danger of excess radioactivity, according to Rogers' article, since the debris was washed out to sea before the problems at the Fukushima nuclear plant.