Municipal Regional Stormwater NPDES Permit – Oakland

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The images below are a small selection of the images I have recorded over the past three years in Oakland that show the huge problem of municipal trash. Much, not all, of this trash originates at homeless camps around Oakland. Much of this debris is plastic and ends up in San Francisco Bay.

Since 2009 I have collected nearly 7 tons of trash off the beaches of West Marin and from Tomales Bay.

Each winter I collect a few dozen, sometimes more, dirty syringes that have washed up on the beaches of Point Reyes National Seashore, including but not limited to Limantour, Drakes, South, North, Kehoe and McClures beaches.

Since 2016 I have been visiting Lake Merritt and other locations in and around the western edges of Richmond, Albany, Berkeley and Oakland in search of the source of these needles.

I’ve collected thousands of needles from in and around the homeless camps in these communities. I’ve also learned that needle exchanges are not actually exchanges. For example, The Berkeley Needle Exchange will hand out 600 needles to anyone that asks, with no need to turn in a single dirty needle. I believe this is wrong and is responsible for the horrid amount of syringe litter that blights our cities and waterways.

Here is a short video recorded during the heavy rain on 7 December, 2019 at Lake Merritt.
One can see the failing containment boom at Glen echo allowing debris to slip past in the high flows.
At Trestle Glen, the smell of oil / gas on the water was nauseating and very noticeable on the surface.

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Click on an image to see a larger version.

2016

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2017

Street trash washed into Lake Merritt on 16 November, 2017

Street trash washed into Lake Merritt on 16 November, 2017

Street trash washed into Lake Merritt on 16 November, 2017

Street trash washed into Lake Merritt on 16 November, 2017

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2018

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2019

Broken boom leaks debris at Glen Echo

Municipal Regional Stormwater NPDES Permit – Berkeley

Click on the words above “Municipal Regional Stormwater NPDES Permit – Berkeley” to see this entire post

The images below are a small selection of the images I have recorded over the past three years in Berkeley that show the huge problem pf municipal trash. Much, not all, of this trash originates at homeless camps around Berkeley. Much of this debris is plastic and ends up in San Francisco Bay.

Since 2009 I have collected nearly 7 tons of trash off the beaches of West Marin and from Tomales Bay.

Each winter I collect a few dozen, sometimes more, dirty syringes that have washed up on the beaches of Point Reyes National Seashore, including but not limited to Limantour, Drakes, South, North, Kehoe and McClures beaches.

Since 2016 I have been visiting Lake Merritt and other locations in and around the western edges of Richmond, Albany, Berkeley and Oakland in search of the source of these needles.

I’ve collected thousands of needles from in and around the homeless camps in these communities. I’ve also learned that needle exchanges are not actually exchanges. For example, The Berkeley Needle Exchange will hand out 600 needles to anyone that asks, with no need to turn in a single dirty needle. I believe this is wrong and is responsible for the horrid amount of syringe litter that blights our cities and waterways.

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Click on an image to see a larger version.

Codornices Creek – Border between Albany and Berkeley near Interstate 80

Gilman at 80



SeaBreeze / University camps area at 80

Ashby Beach – where Ashby intersect West Frontage at SF Bay

Can we please have a beach without needles & human waste?

Click on the words above “Can we please have a beach without needles & human waste?” to see this entire post.

Recently while visiting the east shore of San Francisco Bay in Berkeley as I attempt to understand where the dirty syringes I find all over the beaches in West Marin come from each winter, I came upon this image.

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This young mother had brought her son to enjoy the waves.

He is a beautiful young boy. He is also autistic.

His mother’s family took his sister and the rest of the family to Hawaii on vacation.

They did not want him to join them. Which broke his mother’s heart.

He so Looooooves the feeling of water on him.

He would stand as the tiny waves crashed into him, smiling like the giant star he is as each buttery hand washed over him. His smile beaming.

Occasionally the water would knock him down and his mother would rush over and help him up if he was unable to right himself.

I watched with swelling heart for a few minutes. He was in complete bliss.

Slowly I approached his mother and explained that this beach was often covered with raw sewage, needles, condoms and other unhealthy items.

I held up a plastic water bottle with the several dirty syringes I had just picked up from this tiny sliver of sand adjacent to West Frontage Road, itself adjacent to Southbound 80 near Ashby Avenue in Berkeley CA.

She sighed and ran to help her son up from the toxic water.

Again his smile shone like a thousand blazing suns as he relished the feeling of the water caressing him.

How blessed I am to live where I do, so close to dozens of beaches mostly free of used hypodermic syringes and bags of human shit tossed from homeless individuals living in their cars alongside a roaring ribbon of pavement and cars busy taking people god knows where to make the world a better place with the likes, instagrams, ubers, airbnb’s and all manner of progress(?).

I shared with his mother how to get to one of the brilliant beaches I am blessed to live near, giving her a map with directions. I hope she brings him there soon.

She thanked me for my efforts and for sharing with her a beach to take her son to that is not covered with human waste and dirty needles.

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Here is how Ashby beach often looks.

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Bag of human feces dropped on road next to SF Bay

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