Trash washing into San Francisco Bay despite efforts to keep it clean

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Tons of trash are washing into San Francisco Bay, despite the efforts by environmental groups and local governments to keep it out.

Dorothy Graham and her friends love strolling the shoreline trail along Damon Slough in Oakland, but taking in the sites is a mixed bag. On any given day the shoreline is lined with ribbons of trash, everything from bottles to plastic bags and more.

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"I've seen jackets, clothing and what else? Oh yes, baby stroller," Graham remembers.

"This is usually what we see, a lot of floating plastic, styrofoam," says environmental activist David Lewis, pointing to trash scattered next to the water.

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Lewis is with the environmental group Save The Bay. The group has been tracking the slow progress, since state regulators began ordering Bay Area cities to reduce the amount of trash being swept from city streets into their storm drain systems.

"Each city has their own storm drain system, and most of those go into creeks and the Bay," Lewis explains.

Some progress is being made, but it's uneven.

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Lewis says last week East Palo Alto was taken off the state's trash-offender list after installing capture devices on their storm drains. At the same time regulators cracked down on Caltrans, threatening the agency with fines as high as $25,000 a day for all the trash still blowing off Bay Area freeways. And governments like Oakland and Alameda County are still in the midst of planned improvements, including trash separators and hiring clean up teams.

"We've got to make progress reducing trash. Once it gets into the Bay it's poisoning fish and wildlife," he points out.

Dorothy Graham and others who frequent the shoreline agree that a solution needs to be found, before too much time and trash go by.
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