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April 8, 2009 > Protect your local waterways by making Santa Clara County a Litter-Free Zone

Protect your local waterways by making Santa Clara County a Litter-Free Zone

Being in Santa Clara County, we are fortunate to live and work in one of the most beautiful parts of the Bay Area. We enjoy the natural aesthetic provided by the Pacific Ocean to our west and the redwood forests and mountains to the east. For most of us, we take pride in living our day-to-day lives in harmony with nature, respecting both the environment and our neighbors.

Unfortunately, not everyone feels the same way. Litter has been posing a major threat to our local waterways. Fast food packaging, cigarette butts and other litter along the county's roadsides is not only awful to look at, it's affecting our local creeks and streams. During the rainy season, this litter is swept off the roadways and into storm drains that flow directly to our local waterways. This leads to threats to local fish and wildlife and the quality of our water. Also, accumulation of litter along with broken tree limbs and erosion in local creeks and streams leads to a decrease in flood protection.

Fortunately, there is something you can do to help. One major way to get involved in litter prevention is to support to the upcoming Great American Litter Pick Up, held on Saturday, April 25 from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

The annual event typically draws hundreds of concerned citizens who want to improve the environment and have a positive impact on their community. This is a great opportunity to organize a group of coworkers, neighbors or simply like-minded friends to provide the community a service by keeping tons of trash from ending up at our creeks and rivers and re-directing glass bottles, aluminum cans and other recyclable material to recycling centers rather than landfills.

Last year's Great American Litter Pick Up was a major success. Nearly 1,000 volunteers participated in the event, collecting 404 bags of litter and 86 bags of recyclable materials. It takes a community-wide effort and I want to challenge our county residents to come out even stronger in 2009. For more information or to sign up, call (408) 277-3208. Also, you can contact your local elected official to request that your city participate in the Great American Litter Pick Up. After all, it's the perfect opportunity for us all to come together to make a difference!

If you're not able to make it that day, there are plenty of other ways for you to get involved. The Santa Clara Valley Water District, along with the Volunteer Center of Silicon Valley, the City of San Jose and other regional anti-litter campaign partners, is recruiting volunteers for litter pick up activities throughout each of the ten districts in San Jose.

We have Caltrans Adopt-A-Highway program (408) 432-7122, San Jose Adopt-A-Street (408) 335-2850, Santa Clara Valley Water District, National River Cleanup Day, Adopt-A-Creek, (408) 265-2600, and many more volunteer anti-litter opportunities. For more information on these opportunities, call the San Jose Anti-Litter and Graffiti Program at (408) 277-3208.

The only way to win the war on litter is through education, prevention and removal by volunteering your time and energy. All you have to do is call these phone numbers and volunteer for the announced event. I look forward in seeing you participate in keeping our environment clean.

As always, I am available for questions or comments as your District 3 representative for Sunnyvale, Alviso, Milpitas, Berryessa/Alum Rock communities, east of Highway 101 to the Evergreen community area.

Feel free to contact me at (408) 234-7707.

Director Richard Santos
Santa Clara Valley Water District

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