First Flush Walk?


After the first rain, called the first flush, a lot of trash gets washed into the storm drains, at which point it’s usually out-of-sight and out-of-mind, but it does end up somewhere. In our case, it ends up in the Bay. Having kayaked through all the South Bay marshes over the years and having witnessed all the plastic junk and trash that ends up stuck in the weeds, it is never out of my mind. I can imagine the whole route of those little candy wrappers out into the great garbage patch of the Pacific. It’s a sad bit of knowledge.

After last night’s storm, and reading an article from Save The Bay, it occurred to me to go out and see what got flushed last night and maybe clean up some of it. So, on our way to the local running shop for a pair of shoes, about a mile or two away, we brought along a black garbage bag and picked up everything unnatural in the gutters and sidewalk along the way. The bag got very heavy very quickly.

Some highlights included a shoe, a razor blade, car brake shoe pad, steak knife blade, a feminine pad, and the remnants of human vice; cigaret boxes, lighters, beer cans and bottles, coffe cups, gatorade caps, and candy wrappers. We found very little trace of good stuffs like banana peals, or juice bottles. We got a lot of stuff that was about to go down the storm drains, but a lot was already down there, particularly outside Star***ks, and the local Chinese joint. At the end, it was too much to pick up by our hands, and most of it had been there a while. The street cleaners and other wakers-by don’t seem to help much, so there isn’t much to keep this from getting flushed into the Bay; a sad thought.

Maybe this should become an annual (or weekly) event. What could be the name? First Flush Walk? Fall Gutter Cleanup? What do you think?

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