Oakland city officials increase trash clean-up efforts near the Bay

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Oakland City officials are now revving up efforts to clean-up all the trash that ends up in the San Francisco Bay.

Oakland is facing a deadline to comply with clean-up efforts or face hefty penalties.

RELATED: Save the Bay working to save SF Bay from Trash

On Monday, city council members met to discuss the clean-up during a budget meeting.

Experts say there is no denying that Oakland has a trash problem that has been steadily getting worse.

"When it rains, all the trash on the streets goes straight into the storm drain and out into the bay, untreated," said David Lewis, from Save the Bay.

Lewis says it first ends up in the creeks and estuaries.

Several years ago the Regional Water Quality Control Board mandated that cities with storm systems that feed into the Bay must reduce the amount of trash by 70 percent.

According to record, Oakland is way behind. The only way to comply is to spend more money on clean-up efforts and a trapping system to keep the trash out.

"For Oakland to avoid suits and penalties that will cost taxpayers a lot, they have to add this money to the budget and they have to clean up more trash and they have to do it quick," said Lewis.

Council Member Rebecca Kaplan wants the city to spend nearly $2.3 million over two years to hire crews and equipment to clean illegal dumping hot spots.

They believe most of the trash is coming from homeless encampments and places where people dump trash.

"And that's why I'm saying don't wait for a member of the public to call and complain, assign work crews to hit those hot spot right away so we get that trash out of our community," said Kaplan.

All that trash so close to storm drains is a threat to the Bay. Another Oakland Council Member Dan Kalb is behind another plan that will also require millions of dollars.

"To put more of these trash-capture devices on our drains and storm water systems and that's going to help. But we have a lot more to do," said Kalb.

Oakland's goal is to have zero trash in its storm drains by 2022.
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