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a person is holding a pump out hose and pointing at the viewer

Seven Things That ‘Work’ on Labor Day to take care of San Diego Bay


Abraham Lincoln said, “My father taught me to work, not to enjoy it,” and while that may be true for some chores - other “work” can actually be easy and fun - especially if the ‘payment’ is a picturesque, pristine, perfect place like San Diego Bay!
No one wants a trashy bay! While it may be easy to see the pollution potential of industry and commerce, you’d be surprised to learn that much of the damage can come from visitors and residents, too. Pollutants from lawns, cigarette butts, and overflowing trash cans hurt the fishies and harm coastal plants. Here are seven things you can do to ‘work’ to keep your Bay a beauty while you are enjoying the waterfront this Labor Day Weekend and always:

Trash Trooper Troy

1) It seems so logical but it needs to be said: simply ‘Stache Your Trash! Every piece of refuse that isn’t disposed of will likely end up trashing your bay! Food wrappers, plastic bags, plastic silverware, fishing nets - even cotton (yes cotton) will damage coastal tidelands and risk harming marine life. Throw it away! The Port of San Diego has worked hard to ensure there are plenty of trash cans - and they get so hangry - so feed ‘em! While we encourage you to eat healthy, we also encourage you to feed those cans a bunch of garbage! 

Mike the Mime

2) We’re not going to go into the reasons why you shouldn’t smoke … but we are going to encourage you to Mime Your Butts! Cigarette butts are the most prevalent form of litter on earth!! We know, can you believe it? 4.5 TRILLION cigarette butts are thrown on the ground each year - TRILLION! And the toxins from one cigarette pollute a liter of water! When you are ready to get back to work, do the math, that’s a LOT of water getting polluted. The fishies don’t smoke (or at least we hope not) so the Port has installed 31 receptacles specific to cigarette butts - and even though smoking is not allowed at Port parks, we want you to have a place to get rid of that butt because it is that important to keep out of the bay. Here’s where it gets cool … these butts will be recycled into pellets to be used elsewhere! So cool. 

Hang on Hank

3) It will blow your mind how trashy your bay becomes from parking lots and roadways! We know, sometimes it’s easier to throw an old coffee cup on the floor of your car when you’re driving … we get it (you should see some of our cars)! But when you open the door and that cup escapes, guess where it wants to be? Yup, like you, it wants to go straight to the water! So Keep a Monkey Grip on Your Trash! Debris from truck beds and boats can be the worst! Keep a trash bag in your vehicles, tie down large loads of refuse … while it’s funny to see the breeze mess up your bae’s hair, it’s a real bummer when it’s messing up your bay! 

Bay Brotocol

4) Pollution doesn’t just come from waterfront visitors - it can come from everywhere! OK, so check it … you’ve got weeds in your lawn so you decide to spray weed killer. Seems about right. But then you water and water and over water your lawn and those pesticides, chemicals, and fertilizers are washed into the water making their way to the storm drains. That now polluted water goes straight to the bay! There are things you can do to Follow the Bay Brotocol! Start by using more environmentally friendly lawn chemicals, or if you get ambitious over the long weekend: xeriscape your yard and use more drought tolerant plants - but the easiest, quickest thing you can do is … water less. Over watering is like drowning your bay in poison - not cool! 

Keep a Lid on It

5) The one chore that is the absolute easiest: Keep A Lid On It - we mean those trash cans, not the noise. There are good reasons to keep trash cans covered! When lids aren’t secured on the cans, guess who loves you more? Critters who eat the trash … birds who poop all over the place … and most disturbing of all, MAGGOTS! But beyond the furry or slimy trash lovers, a loose lid actually DOES pollute the bay. 

Pollution Pirate Pete

6) All hands on deck! Pollution Pirate Pete is here to collect his plastic bounty, but we can stop him if we ‘work’ together to properly dispose of all trash when fishing, picnicking, and enjoying our beautiful waterfront. Don’t leave plastic and other trash near our bay, some objects like fishing line can take up to 600 years to break down! It doesn’t take a treasure map to find a trash can, learn a valuable lesson from misguided Pete this Labor Day and accomplish one simple chore: Keep The Seas Plastic Free!  

a person is holding a pump out hose and pointing at the viewer

7) Every sailor worthy of the sea knows that in San Diego Bay, you can dump for free! Captain Colin is a busy boater, but he’s always got the time to dump at the pump, because he knows the negative impacts one illegal dump can have on our delicate ocean ecosystem. He also knows that San Diego is home to over a dozen vessel sewage pump-out stations, many of which are free for public use. Don’t be an amateur, put in a little ‘work’ on this Labor Day and follow in the Captain’s footsteps.  Dump at the pump, and own your ship! 
Enjoy your Labor Day! If you’re at the bay, let’s make it a day of “work” to keep it clean. We’re not arguing with Lincoln … no one would, but we do believe that some work can actually be easy and almost fun.
If we all ‘work’ together, if we each say to ourselves every time we smell that salty air, dip into that pristine water, and cast a line to those hungry, healthy fishies: “Hey, #ThatsMyBay!” then the work is more a labor of love.