WATSONVILLE—Armed with grabbers, cans, garbage bags and gloves, more than 25 volunteers gathered at Murphy Crossing Road early on July 29 for a community cleanup of a portion of the Pajaro River on the outskirts of Watsonville.
The volunteers picked up plastic, cans, bottles, mattresses, tires, pallets, pieces of cars, cardboard, ropes and empty plastic strawberry crates. In all, 560 cubic feet of garbage were collected, equivalent to 2.5 truck loads of garbage.
“The community cleanups are opportunities for Santa Cruz County to reach out to different neighborhoods and partner up with them to make our county a better place to live and work,” said Ramon Gomez, an analyst with Santa Cruz County Supervisor Greg Caput’s office. “We hope that the cleanups also help instill neighborhood and community pride.”
The volunteers were split into two groups. One was composed primarily of high school students from Watsonville Wetlands Watch’s Climate Corps Leadership Institute. The groups cleaned trash along the Pajaro River and Murphy Crossing Road from the Pajaro River to Highway 129.
“The Pajaro River is such an incredible resource in our community,” said Watsonville Wetlands Watch Executive Director Jonathan Pilch. “Each bag of trash filled today and hauled from the river and surrounding roads means a much cleaner river, ocean, and wetlands. It is so gratifying to be able to be a part of this process and see such a diverse group of people and agencies come together to work to care for our environment.”
Santa Cruz County Public Works Roads and Drainage Section staff and Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Nick Solano was also present to control traffic on the two-way road.
The cleanup was organized by Caput’s office and Pilch, in collaboration with the County of Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz County Public Works, Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office, The Trash Talkers and Creekside Farms, Inc.