Workers in San Diego have removed more than 500 tons of waste off the city’s streets since the Clean SD initiative was launched in September 2017, KPBS reported.
The Clean SD initiative was instituted to help target waste discarded on the city’s streets, alleyways and riverbeds.
“The waste abatements we’ve performed tend to be associated with homeless encampments,” Mario Sierra, director of San Diego’s Environmental Services Department, said according to the report. “That’s typically left behind as we conduct our waste abatements.”
According to the report, more than 1,200 shopping carts and 3,100 mattresses and box springs have been discarded through the program.
The cleanup, which is performed by city workers outfitted with hazmat suits and trash bags, has focused heavily on the 52-mile stretch along the San Diego River that has long served as a popular campground for the city’s homeless. While the city has undertaken street cleanup programs in the past, there is renewed emphasis under the Clean SD initiative following a hepatitis A outbreak which has resulted in 20 deaths since November 2016.
“We have actually removed approximately 98 tons of waste from the San Diego River and 29 tons of waste from Chollas Creek,” Sierra says. “And we’ve also removed about 300 tons in other areas throughout the city of San Diego.”
The next phase of the project involves a community outreach effort in which private land owners with property along the river are being asked to help with the cleanup. The city has sent letters to 33 land owners who combined account for one-third of the land adjacent to the river offering one-time cleanup assistance.