Driving on the back roads between Moraga and Oakland recently, Lance and I stumbled upon something that hit me to my core.
In an area surrounded with lush trees, ferns, and wildlife lies a toxic make-shift dump. Lance spotted it out of the corner of his eye as we drove on windy Pinehurst Road, just a few feet from one of the entrances to Redwood Regional Park and the county line. We got out to take a closer look and my heart just broke.
The dump extends for hundreds of feet. In it are a rotting car, sofas, mattresses, and all kinds of other trash. And down-slope from this mess is the Upper San Leandro Reservoir. The area is a vital watershed that eventually ends up in the Bay and is home to many animals and plants.
I am stunned that the dump there, although I understand how it happened: it's a clear representation of our disconnection from nature. There are still so many people out there who think that dumping their junk onto nature won't really hurt anything because they have no way of relating to the animals, the plants, or the land. As long as it's out of their house/yard, that's all that matters. It's away. But not really. It's harming the land, the animals, the plants, and because we're all connected, it's harming us. The easiest way to see this is that people fish in the reservoir, and those fish could be contaminated by the toxins from dumps like these breaking down and flowing into the streams when it rains. Of course, the harm goes much deeper than that.
I don't know what's been done to clean it up: I'm investigating that now, as well as doing a lot of letter-writing. I do know from reading the County Public Works Department Web site that the county spends millions of dollars cleaning up dumps like this. If you're as incensed about this dump as I am, I've added some links to people to write to or call.
Places to contact:
County Public Works Department Road Maintenance Division 925-313-7000 (When I contacted them they wasn't sure if it would be their issue, but I would still call them...the more people who do, the more it will encourage them to do something.)
East Bay Regional Park District
East Bay Municipal Utility District
Contra Costa Times Environment reporter Mike Taugher 925-943-8257 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Environmental Program at Merritt College in Oakland
Friends of San Leandro Creek