Thursday, July 2, 2009
More than a million people are expected to converge on San Diego’s beaches and bays this holiday weekend. It’s the most popular beach weekend for the city and both the police department and environmental groups are getting ready.
SAN DIEGO More than a million people are expected to converge on San Diego’s beaches and bays this holiday weekend. It’s the most popular beach weekend for the city and both the police department and environmental groups are getting ready.
The big Fourth of July weekend is nearly here and Pacific Beach is already crowded. But beachgoers can still find a patch of sand to play on. Vacationer Reed Spangler isn’t really playing. He’s standing knee deep in a large hole while his nieces and nephews run around him.
“Well, my enterprising brother-in-law is building a sand castle, but I don’t have that ability so I’m just digging a big pit for the kids to play in,” he says.
His three year old niece Addison Case tries to get his attention, “I want to go in that hole with you!”
“Not now, you’re being interviewed,” says Spangler.
Addison is visiting with her family from Phoenix
“I don’t live in San Diego, I just go there. I just go there and see the waves and swim,” she says.
Addison, who stands a little too close to the hole tumbles into the pit. She’s OK and continues to play nearby with her family. If it were Saturday she wouldn’t have as much space. On the Fourth the beach will be packed with wall-to-wall people. And more people could mean more problems. But the San Diego Police Department has been through these weekends before and Captain Shelley Zimmerman says officers will maintain a high profile.
“They’ll be on foot, in vehicles, on all terrain vehicles, on bicycles, horseback, on boats and we’ll also have them in the air,” she says. “And it’s to make sure that everyone who visits the beach areas this weekend has a very safe and enjoyable experience.”
This is the second year alcohol has been banned at city beaches. But Zimmerman says there will still be a lot of officers looking for drunk drivers. She says people have been generally respectful of the ban.
What we’ve been seeing this whole summer and we’re sure to expect the same thing this holiday weekend is very much a family friendly environment. Here we’re at the beach right now and you see all these families out here, these kids out here, out having a great time and we expect more of the same this weekend,” she says.
But all those beachgoers usually bring along a lot of trash. Morgan Justice Black is with I Love a Clean San Diego. She says last year about 300 thousand pounds of debris was collected after the holiday weekend, everything from cigarette butts to couches. Justice Black says it’s a lot easier to clean it all up if it’s in trash bins and not spread across the beach. I Love a Clean San Diego is distributing about 150 trash and recycling bins throughout Mission and Pacific Beach to give people a place to put their garbage.
“If there isn’t a convenient opportunity for people to dispose of things, they’re a lot more likely not to make the right choices. So if you offer them a convenient recycling or trash receptacle, it’s pretty likely that they’re going to use them,” she says.
And once the weekend’s over and the crowds are gone, the Surfrider Foundation will be sponsoring clean-up events at five San Diego County beaches. Volunteers will help get the beaches ready for the rest of the week