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How to combat San Diego's freeway trash

PPE, take-out containers and plastics. Maybe you've noticed trash alongside San Diego's freeways.

SAN DIEGO — While we’re driving, it’s almost become invisible to us. 

Trash, garbage, litter, refuse, whatever you want to call it, not only fills the nooks around the on-ramps but is scattered around the freeways themselves. 

Retired Rear Admiral Len Hering had been cleaned up a spot on Bonita Road last September and completely filled his bucket with trash within five minutes.

With his trusty grabber and bucket, the CEO of I Love A Clean San Diego snatched up the plastic bags and PPE that flies out of cars unsecured or just simply dropped there because it was easier than finding a trash can. 

While this kind of litter is unsightly everywhere, garbage that piles up in our coastal city is particularly damaging.

“Virtually 70% of all plastic that have been manufactured in the world, are in our environment still,” Hering said. “We have this tremendous problem of thousands and thousands and thousands of tons of plastics that are entering our oceans every single day.”

Hering isn’t the only one who has noticed an increase of trash near and on our freeways. Caltrans, the governmental agency tasked with maintaining the state’s highways, has stepped up its efforts in cleaning the rubbish from the road.

“We have two dedicated days a month that we do littering,” Shawn Rizzutto, the Caltrans maintenance division chief for District 11, said. “All field staff stops what they’re doing and they pretty much predominantly do all litter activities.”

On April 24, Hering is hoping that thousands of San Diegans volunteer for The Creek to Bay Cleanup to remove over 30,000 pounds of garbage from on coastal community. But even more important, to reuse and refuse single-use plastics. Stop the problem at its source and become better stewards of Mother Earth. 

“It’s about protecting our environment,” Hering said. “We only have one planet, so we better start taking note of what’s happening.”

WATCH: Help clean San Diego with the upcoming Creek to Bay Cleanup

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