Toxic cleanup: one street at a time

By Pamela Tapia 

Mango salsa was the reward for cleaning a street in the West Oakland community.

Several West Oakland Middle School students and several McClymonds High School students hosted the three-hour community cleanup last Thursday,  a few blocks away from Mack.

“We decided to clean up 31st Street because of  the illegal dumping that goes on there,” said Alissa Kronovic, program facilitator

Accompanied by a suit-wearing city representative, students geared up with gloves, trash bags, brooms, and litter pickers to clean up the area, where Urban Relief had been doing an experimental program, during which they placed filter cloths under the drain gates to trap materials that go into the bay.

“The ten dollar fix,” so dubbed by Urban Relief, contained more than rain water: it was stuffed with trash ranging from cheetos bags to plastic bags and “thousands of cigarrette butts.”

The site — 31st Street and Market –was chosen for its long history with toxic waste.  Currently there is a plot of land with soil cleaning apparatus.

“They remove the toxic gases from the soil, separate the both, and release the clean air into the atmosphere,” said the group’s representative

Following the cleanup under the rain, the West Oakland Health and Safety Collaborative surprised volunteers with a free food demonstration sponsored by People’s grocery.



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