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Students and Staff Clean Up Local Creeks

Student volunteers celebrate after collecting 40 pounds of trash.

There’s no better way to top off a Crunch Wrap Supreme than with a few packets of your favorite signature hot sauce. At least, that’s what you’d think — until you pick up 15 empty packets of it littering your local creeks.

This very thought crossed the minds of 15 student volunteers during this year’s Creek Cleanup Day, an annual event organized by Cal Poly Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) dedicated to removing litter from four creeks near campus.

On Sept. 29, volunteers got their hands dirty scouring litter hot spots near Stenner Glenn, Highland Tunnel, East Creek Road and Poly Canyon Village. After three hours of hard work, they filled their orange buckets with a whopping 40 pounds of trash, including 15 pounds of recyclable material.

The goal of this event is not only to stop harmful debris from entering the local watershed, which ultimately empties into the Pacific Ocean. It is also to raise awareness for the main products being discarded — some of which came as a surprise.

Recorded number of each litter item collected.

Students discovered high quantities of common litter items, such as plastic wrappers and cigarette butts, as well as uncommon items, like Taco Bell hot sauce packets and Jamba Juice cups. The group picked up a total of 300 pieces of trash, which equates to about 20 pieces per volunteer.

Student volunteers search local creeks for trash and debris.

Keeping the creeks clean might seem like hard work, but in reality, it’s pretty simple. Next time you dive into a late night Taco Bell feast, just make sure your mild, hot AND diablo sauce packets make it into the nearest trash can (rather than the Pacific Ocean).

Missed out on all the fun clean-up? Don’t worry — EHS is already gearing up for next year’s cleanup. To get in on the action, mark your calendar for Sept. 28, 2019, from 10 a.m. — 2 p.m.

EHS is a department of Cal Poly’ Administration and Finance. Its mission is to assist the campus in providing a safe and healthful workplace through the development and implementation of programs which minimize the risk of occupationally related injury or illness. To learn more, click here.