An annual event to help eliminate this problem has reduced the amount of debris in the bay, but there is still a lot of work to do.
On Saturday, August 27, 2011, hundreds of volunteers will gather for the 21st annual Operation Clean Sweep event to haul out refuse from the bay and its shoreline. The clean-up will run from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. in several areas and will be followed by an after-party from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. A few of the clean up areas will begin at 7 a.m.
The event, sponsored by the San Diego Port Tenants Association, the Port of San Diego, the United States Navy, and several port tenant businesses, is one of the largest environmental clean up efforts on the West Coast. Enough trash and debris is collected each year to fill about ten, 40-yard-dumpsters.
In the annual clean-up, civilian and military divers locate debris on the bay’s surface. Volunteer boaters and equipment operators assist with hauling the trash out of the water and back to shore to be disposed of in dumpsters. While this is going on, civilian volunteers pick up trash from along San Diego Bay’s shoreline. The combined efforts result in a big reduction of trash and debris.
“Each year, dozens of divers and hundreds of civilian volunteers work together to improve the health of San Diego Bay,” said Scott Peters, Chairman of the Board of Port Commissioners. “The Port of San Diego, along with the San Diego Port Tenants Association, is extremely grateful to these volunteers for taking the time out of their weekends to join in this effort. This is truly a great example of community spirit.”
Although this year’s event spans the north and south areas of San Diego Bay, the focus is on the Chula Vista area. The main clean up sites are at Bayside Park and the South Bay Power Plant, both in Chula Vista. Here is a complete list of locations and start times:
- South Bay Power Plant Jetty: 990 Bay Boulevard, Chula Vista (map). This area is suitable for children. Start time is 8 a.m. This area is in need of volunteers. Parking is available at the power plant.
- Bayside Park: Corner of Bayside and Quay Avenue, Chula Vista (map). This area is suitable for children. Start time is 8 a.m.
- Chollas Creek: Meet at Pacific Ship Repair and Fabrication, 1625 Rigel Street, San Diego (map). This area is not suitable for children. Please wear work boots. Start time is 7 a.m.
- Chula Vista Nature Center/Sweetwater Marsh : This area is for employees of the shipyards. Start time is 7 a.m.
- Convair Lagoon and Old Harbor Island Boat Launch: 3280 N. Harbor Drive, San Diego (map). This area is suitable for children. Start time is 8 a.m.
- Civilian diver clean-up at Chula Vista Marina: 550 Marina Parkway, Chula Vista (map). Start time is 7 a.m.
- Military diver clean-up: A-8 Anchorage in National City, meet at the Pepper Park Launch Ramp, National City (map). Start time is 7 a.m.
Volunteers are needed for all areas. To sign up, go to: www.sdpta.com/cleansweep.php.
Following the clean-up, at 11 a.m., there will be an after party at Bayside Park in Chula Vista. The party features free lunch and refreshments, including beer donated by Budweiser. Entertainment will be provided by the Navy Band and prizes will be given out for the most unusual trash. Other prizes, donated by tenant businesses, will be raffled off.
Each volunteer will receive gloves, trash bags and an Operation Clean Sweep t-shirt. Doughnuts will also be provided, courtesy of the San Diego Port Tenants Association.
For media interested in covering the event, there are two suggested spots that will provide great visuals. These are the shoreline near the Chula Vista Nature Center and the former A-8 anchorage area on the water near National City’s Pepper Park. Both of these areas will be visible by vessel. A media boat will be available from 7:30 a.m.-10:30 a.m. at Pier 32 Marina, located at 3201 Marina Way, National City (map). To arrange to be on the media boat, please contact Sharon Cloward, president of the San Diego Port Tenants Association at (619) 246-1916 or Greg Boeh, Pier 32 Marina at (619) 325-9396. Former Port Commissioner Bill Hall will be the media contact for the Chula Vista Nature Center clean up site. He can be reached at (619) 818-1289.