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Callipygous

Balancing cost and benefit of trash clean up

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My favorite local park is unfortunately place below a road, which has turned it into a dumping ground. I have spent a considerable amount of time, money, and effort removing as much of the trash as I can, but the process raises some questions about which items are worth the effort.

Some items seem like they have a pretty low impact other than being an eyesore, like glass. other items require a disproportionate effort due to size, weight, and location. The park service has told me that some of them are not worth removing because the impact of digging them out, and erosion in hauling them out of the park outweighs the environmental impact of leaving it there, like car chassis.

I have tried for a while to find a resource to help me understand the impacts of various materials so I can better gauge the pros and cons, but I haven't found anything.

Examples of the kinds of questions im trying to answer:

Does glass actually have any impact? What about aluminum cans?

I know tires are toxic. Is there a point where the process of removal (disturbing the creekbed) out weighs their impact?

If a car battery has long since rusted out, and has been sitting in a creek for years, is it still a hazard, or have the dangerous chemicals probably all washed out?

 

Information, or tips on where I could read up would be very appreciated.

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My local parks manager told me the best thing citizens can do is organize clean-up groups to move junk the city would need a paid crew for. Don't try to move stuff that would require special gear (like cars, chemicals, or buried items). The bulk of the smaller trash that can be safely removed by a team of volunteers with 30 gallon bags helps the parks departments focus on the things they alone should be removing. 

Make sure the local press knows what you're doing. There will be a politician who can score some points by showing concerned citizens pitching in, and it will increase your chances of getting help from the city on the nastiest stuff.

And thank you very much for your effort and expense, and contributing to the enrichment of an important piece of human environment. Thanks too from all the voiceless species you're helping.

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Yeah, I can see the benefits of that approach. Maybe im wrong, but I feel like my circumstances have some additional hurdles. The organized group effort sounds good for a city park, but im dealing with more of a wooded area out in the hills. I feel like one (particularly me) would have a hard time coordinating a group to go out there, trek through poison oak, and gather trash in hard to reach, off-trail locations. Especially without trampling a lot of flora.

The supervisor I report to knows that I've been hauling tires out with a backpack for the better part of 2 years and has yet to say "hey man, why dont you just get em to the trail and we'll come get em with the 4 wheeler?" Or any similar offer. He said cars are just a no go, and I shouldn't touch buried items. He also said hes had permits in to deal with similar items for about 5 years... My confidence is low.

 

I am also interested in learning about it anyway, even if most of it should be left to the pros.

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3 hours ago, Callipygous said:

Yeah, I can see the benefits of that approach. Maybe im wrong, but I feel like my circumstances have some additional hurdles. The organized group effort sounds good for a city park, but im dealing with more of a wooded area out in the hills. I feel like one (particularly me) would have a hard time coordinating a group to go out there, trek through poison oak, and gather trash in hard to reach, off-trail locations. Especially without trampling a lot of flora.

Set up an email account (CleanWoodedHills@gmail, or something like that), and post a sign at the area asking for volunteers for a morning of cleanup before winter, and see if there are others who also consider it their favorite local park. You're a better judge about the area with regard to whether a major effort will cause more harm or good. I just know that a job like that is a great opportunity for many hands. 

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