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The San Pablo Litter Bugs Are Cleaning Up 23rd Street

Earth Team interns at Richmond High School have taken on the ZeroLitter project in collaboration with the City of San Pablo.

PSA: Richmond High interns have begun referring to themselves by the self-proclaimed title, “the San Pablo Litter Bugs!” In the past couple of months, this dedicated group of interns have been busy working on developing a research plan and conducting numerous litter assessments along 23rd Street in San Pablo, CA. In fact, the team has already collected over 4,000 pieces of litter since starting the project in February! Below is a timeline of their progress to date and a list of future events.

Phase 1: Observation and Community Inventory

To start planning for this project, interns spent an afternoon walking along 23rd Street. Each intern carried with them a checklist to check off and make notes as they made observations on their walk. Some of the things they looked for included number of storm drains, number of public waste receptacles, wildlife present, and urban land use. After the mile-long walk, the team noticed that there appeared to be few public trash cans and trees on this road, but lots of trash visible in the Wildcat Creek corridor that passes underneath 23rd Street. Additionally, there is a variety of urban land use including residential, commercial, mobile food vendors, and public services along 23rd Street.

Phase 2: Envisioning a Community Litter Project

Next, the group brainstormed their goals and objectives for this litter project. Some key goals and ideas that resulted from a group discussion included:
-Complete 3 litter assessments per month
-Use the Marine Debris Tracker App to keep a log of litter collected
-Keep record of number of trash cans, storm drain locations, land use, and total trash volume and weight
-Identify most common litter types found on 23rd Street
-Host a litter cleanup community event with the City of San Pablo
-Invite other students at Richmond High School to take part in this project
-Present findings to San Pablo City Council

Phase 3: Conduct Litter Assessments and Engage Community Members

In this current phase the team has already begun collecting data. They have completed 5 litter assessments using the Street Trash Monitoring Protocols designed by scientists at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography.

On March 26th, the team hosted a litter cleanup event and invited students at Richmond High School to participate. This month the team will host a Wildcat Creek cleanup event in collaboration with the City of San Pablo on Saturday, April 23rd, 2022 at Davis Park!

Phase 4: Data Analysis and Presentation to City Council

Following the completion of litter assessments, the team will conduct data analysis using all the information they’ve gathered during cleanups. The team is scheduled to present their findings at San Pablo’s City Council meeting on May 16th, 2022! Stay tuned!

Want to get involved? Contact Earth Team Richmond’s program coordinator, Itzel Gomez at [email protected]

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