Save The Bay Announces Annual Bay Trash Hot Spots to Highlight 40th Anniversary of Clean Water Act

September 11, 2012

Save The Bay, the oldest and largest regional organization working to protect and restore San Francisco Bay, announced today its 6th Annual Bay Trash Hot Spots. This year’s five sites all have such high levels of trash that they are in violation of the Clean Water Act, and each is in one of the top ten Bay Area cities that contribute the most trash to the Bay.

The Clean Water Act, passed in 1972 to restore and maintain our nation’s waterways, turns 40 this year. Every day throughout the Bay Area, plastic bags, cigarette butts, Styrofoam containers, and other toxic trash wash into storm drains, travel through urban waterways, and pollute the Bay. Trash is the main component of urban runoff, the single largest source of Bay pollution. Debris from urban storm drains flows into the Bay and through the Golden Gate to join the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a soup of trash and plastic particles covering hundreds of miles of ocean.

In honor of the Clean Water Act’s 40th birthday, Save The Bay is partnering with the EPA to raise awareness of the amount of trash in the Bay, highlighting five Bay Trash Hot Spots that represent the larger problem. Save The Bay encourages the public to get involved by volunteering to clean up these or other spots around the Bay on the California Coastal Commission’s Coastal Cleanup Day, Saturday, September 15.

“Trash continues to do serious damage to San Francisco Bay and the ocean,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “It’s everyone’s responsibility to reduce trash. By meeting the Clean Water Act’s goals, we can make our waters safe for fish, wildlife, and public enjoyment.”

Save The Bay’s 2012 Bay Trash Hot Spots:

  • Damon Slough—Oakland
  • Coyote Creek—San Jose
  • The Hayward Shoreline
  • Baxter Creek—Richmond
  • San Tomas Aquino Creek –Santa Clara

Why these Hot Spots?

The San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board (Water Board) requires Bay Area cities to comply with the Clean Water Act by eliminating trash entering the Bay from storm water systems by 2022, or face fines. The data used to identify Save The Bay’s Hot Spots came from the cities’ own monitoring of their creeks and shorelines.

“Even better than cleaning up trash is preventing it in the first place,” says David Lewis, Executive Director of Save the Bay. “Our Clean Bay Project goes beyond cleanups by helping cities implement proven solutions to reduce trash at the source, including bans and fees on plastic bags, Styrofoam food containers, and other common litter items. Since 2007, when San Francisco passed the nation’s first plastic bag ban, cities across the Bay and around the nation have implemented similar bans.”

Hot Spot or Not

Since 2007, Save The Bay has used Bay Trash Hot Spots to raise awareness and encourage action by the community and lawmakers. New this year is an interactive online contest in which the public can view side by side photos of unnamed Hot Spots and vote “Hot Spot or Not” for each one. The Hot Spot with the most votes will be adopted and cleaned up by Save The Bay in the coming year. The winner will be announced via Save The Bay’s Facebook page, blog, and Twitter feed on October 3. Tweet #BTHS12.

Community Volunteer Information for Coastal Cleanup Day:

Sign up on Save The Bay’s website: www.saveSFbay.org/volunteer or visit the Coastal Cleanup Day website for a cleanup event near you: http://www.coastal.ca.gov/publiced/ccd/ccd2.html

About Save The Bay

Save The Bay is the largest regional organization working to protect and restore San Francisco Bay. As the Bay’s leading champion since 1961, Save The Bay remains dedicated to making the Bay cleaner and healthier for people and wildlife. We protect our natural treasure from pollution and inappropriate shoreline development; restore habitat; and secure strong policies to re-establish 100,000 acres of wetlands that are essential for a healthy Bay. We engage more than 40,000 supporters, advocates and volunteers to protect the Bay, and inspire the next generation of environmental leaders by educating thousands of students annually. www.saveSFbay.org