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Oakland's Bulky Trash Party Targets Illegal Dumping On City Streets

OAKLAND (CBS SF) -- It is no secret that California has a significant trash problem. On Saturday, the city of Oakland held an event that looked like one large piece of a solution.

"We are trying to minimize illegal dumping here in the city of Oakland," says Leland Moore with the city's Public Works Department. "And we're trying to give our citizens an opportunity to assist us in helping keep it clean."

"I just did bulky pick up this week," says Marsha Solomon. "And there was still too much stuff."

The stuff came by sedan, pick-up truck, U-haul, and various other modes of transport. The stuff itself was just about anything one might think of, and the people that were dumping it all off were generally thrilled to be doing this with their Saturday.

"It could not have come soon enough," said Lucretia Akil. "I calendared it. I patiently waited. It's a long line."

"I was shocked to see how many people there are," said Danniel Halpern, waiting in a line that stretched nearly a mile away from the collection site.

"We were here at probably 8 o'clock in the morning. Then we left and came back. Now it's almost 12, this place has been full all day long. It's a good thing for the city."

"Not only does it provide some services for the citizens," Moore explained. "It gives us an opportunity to do some outreach about alternatives for getting rid of household goods, hazardous waste, and also educating our public."

While illegal dumping has famously plagued Oakland for some time, it has also become a notorious blight on California as a whole.

"We drive all up and down this state, and we se it's natural beauty," Gov. Gavin Newsom said recently in Los Angeles. "But we come across these underpasses, freeway entrances and exits and thoroughfares up and down the state, and candidly ask ourselves, 'What the hell is going on?'"

The governor has been touring the state on this topic, and his budget proposes more than a billion dollars towards cleanup efforts.

Cities are marshalling up resources as well. This was Oakland's first Bulky Block Party since the COVID-19 pandemic put them on hold. Today's relaunch brought so much traffic that crews had to hustle to keep empty dump trucks on hand.

"I applaud the governor, the mayor and everyone, all the city of Oakland employees," Akil said. "Everyone is doing their part. It's a collaborative effort, and it's what we need.

"We could use it every weekend," said Ruth Ney. "I assure you people would be here."

Oakland's Bulky Block Parties will resume their normal schedule in June, being held on the last Saturday of every month.

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