SAN MARCOS — San Marcos Councilmember Randy Walton led a citywide cleanup and food drive on Saturday to raise awareness about the damaging effects of single-use plastics as the City of San Marcos gets closer to considering a single-use plastics ordinance in October.
The event, which was co-sponsored by the San Diego chapter of the Surfrider Foundation and Universidad Popular, drew more than 200 people.
Volunteers and families were encouraged to bring nonperishable items to the cleanup, and Universidad Popular was able to deliver meals to 30 San Marcos families that day because of those donations.
All participants were also given Sunny San Marcos shirts, which was a citywide campaign launched by Walton last year in an effort to support local breweries and businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
By the end of the cleanup, volunteers had cleaned 11 miles of roadway and brought back 950 pounds of trash.
“There is this trillion-dollar worldwide industry that creates plastic products that are intended to be used for a very short period of time and then discarded, and then they end up living in landfills or rivers or oceans for hundreds of years, and that’s a recent problem,” Walton said. “There have been studies that show that really it’s been the eighties, nineties to today where it really has become so deeply widespread in American life. So the purpose was just to let people see how this plastic waste is everywhere, and that we as a community should do something about it.”
Walton has been very outspoken about his support for a citywide single-use plastics ban or a dramatic reduction of single-use plastics. The City of San Marcos is expected to consider this ordinance in October.
Mitch Silverstein, chapter manager of Surfrider Foundation San Diego, told The Coast News that they were excited to get involved because it was a chance to raise awareness about the damages of single-use plastics.
“The whole point of our cleanups is not to pick up trash, it’s to prevent that kind of trash from ending up on our beaches and in the first place,” Silverstein said. “We’re known for doing beach cleanups, but what we’d rather do is not have to have them in the first place. So, really plastic pollution prevention and source reduction are what the true goal of our beach-cleaning program is.”
“If you want to see less of this on our streets and less of this ending up on our beaches and our ocean, then email your council member, come to the City Council meeting in October and let’s do this,” Silverstein continued.
A single-use plastics ordinance will be considered at the City Council meeting on Oct. 12.