With Halloween weekend two days away, the Isla Vista Recreation and Park Dept. (IVRPD) is already preparing for the after-party cleanup.
The IVRPD’s Adopt-A-Block program, which organizes groups of volunteers to keep Isla Vista’s streets clean year round, will focus these next two weeks on cleaning up debris from this weekend’s celebrations. Diane Conn, an IVRPD director, said the goal of the post-party cleanup is to prevent trash from getting washed into the ocean.
“After Halloween, Del Playa is just a garbage dump,” Conn said. “If there is rain, which there usually is after Halloween, all of the trash goes right into the ocean. We like to clean it up.”
The post-Halloween cleanup will last the entire weekend of Oct. 30 and Oct 31, and for the two weeks following the holiday, said Jacob Womack, Adopt-a-Block program director.
Last year, Womack said the Adopt-A-Block program, which is funded by UCSB, Santa Barbara County and the Goleta West Sanitary District, logged 100 volunteer hours in the two weeks following Halloween. He said volunteers worked one-hour shifts in groups of four or five.
The cleanup crews will focus on heavily littered areas first, and will then move through the rest of I.V., Womack said.
“We try to cover all of I.V.,” Womack said. “Last year we cleaned every street in the I.V. area. The focus is on DP; we get the trouble spots all cleaned up as quickly as possible and then move out toward the mountains.”
During 2003, Womack said Adopt-A-Block volunteers worked a total of 2,000 hours, cleaned 1,150 blocks in I.V. and collected approximately 85,000 pounds of trash from the streets. He said volunteers gathered 10,500 pounds of that trash during the two weeks following Halloween, and he said he expects the program will collect roughly the same amount this year.
In addition to the approximately 20 groups who regularly volunteer to clean up I.V., Womack said, Adopt-A-Block will receive help from several other local organizations for the Halloween cleanup.
“The sports clubs and some sororities and fraternities will be helping out for Halloween,” Womack said. “In past years, we’ve had 100 to 200 people from the sports clubs volunteer after Halloween.”
Ashley Lewis, president of Kappa Kappa Gamma Sorority, said 75 girls from her sorority will help pick up trash on Sabado Tarde Road and DP this Saturday.
“This year we are doing a Halloween program, and we partnered with the OSL to hand out fliers on Halloween safety,” Lewis said. “We decided it would also be important to help clean up Isla Vista for the good of the community.”
Womack said he hopes the new continuous deflective separator storm drains that were installed on DP by Santa Barbara County last year will minimize the amount of garbage that reaches the ocean.
Cathleen Garnand, a civil engineering associate for the county, said the new drains divert low to moderate flows of runoff water into a screen filter, which traps litter the water may have swept up as it flows toward the beach.
“Anything larger than a cigarette butt is trapped in there and can’t get out, ever,” Garnand said.
Garnand said she knows Halloween will generate a large amount of trash, but she said the new drains are large enough to handle the trash flow.
Conn said volunteer groups will attempt to collect what little recyclable material is still left on the streets after the weekend is over.
“We try to recycle as much as possible, but a lot of times, because we have so many people recycling to supplement their incomes, they get most of the recyclable trash,” she said.
Individual residents are encouraged to help the Adopt-A-Block volunteers by picking up trash outside their homes, Conn said.
“To all the students and residents in I.V., I hope that you all get out to help clean up the trash so that partying means everyone has a good time without turning I.V. into a dump,” Conn said.
Womack said I.V. residents may request extra trash cans from MarBorg Industries to help cut down on the amount of garbage in the streets. MarBorg will collect the extra garbage volunteers collect during the cleanup.