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What San Diego Is Doing To Keep Pollution Out Of The Pacific Ocean

The San Diego River emptying out into the Pacific Ocean in this undated photo.

Credit: San DIego River Park Foundation

Above: The San Diego River emptying out into the Pacific Ocean in this undated photo.

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KPBS-TV on Monday begins a three-day broadcast of a special live program called "Big Blue Live." The show explores the health of the marine ecosystem of Monterey, the home of the famous aquarium.

According to San Diego Coastkeeper, 80 percent of marine debris in the Pacific Ocean comes from inland sources through storm drains. The debris then runs into creeks and rivers, and ultimately out to sea.

Rob Hutsel, executive director of the San Diego River Park Foundation, said his organization removes 120,000 pounds of trash from the river each year.

"We are the people cleaning the river each and every day," Hutsel told KPBS Midday Edition on Monday. "Whatever the need is that's what we do."

Hutsel said the river is polluted because it's one of the most populated watersheds in the region.

"Ten to 20 percent of the un-sheltered homeless population is found by the river," Hutsel said.

Bill Harris, a spokesman for the city of San Diego, said the trash in the river can lead to bacteria. But it's not just trash that ends up in the river — there's also human waste.

"We worry about any warm blooded animal that leaves waste in the watershed," Harris said. "Storm water in San Diego is not treated and it all runs to our ocean front."


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