You make have heard about a flash mob. But what is a trash mob?
That is exactly what the Golden Gate National Recreation Area team is trying to figure out.
Hundreds of people descended on Fort Mason Great Meadow between 1:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. on the Fourth of July with copious amounts of food and booze - the remnants were left to be pilfered by seagulls, according to Golden Gate National Recreation Area Public Affairs Specialist Alexandra Picavet.
Since park maintenance began cleaning up the trash at 7 a.m Thursday, they cleared 12 cubic yards, roughly one-third the size of a high school basketball court, and another 12 cubic yards remain, Picavet said. One of the trucks was filled to capacity with brand new coolers that contained unopen packages of food, rotting meat and beer, she said.
If the beer bottles had been intact they would have filled another garbage truck, she added.
As unappealing as it may sound, the phenomenon of trash mobs have hit cities all over the country. In Tyler, Tex., for example, a church group sponsors a Trash Mob, where volunteers spend time cleaning up the mess left by litterbugs.
"People need to be aware of what they bring before they bring it, this area may be located in the city, but it is windy and we have seagulls that are ripping things apart," Picavet said. "Trash becomes the biggest problem when it becomes airborne, it lands in hard to reach places or messes up areas we have spent all this money trying to revegitate."
Up to 50 employees from the Recreation Area team, Golden Gate National Park Conservancy and National Park Service, from the superintendent to volunteers, are walking the area with trash bags and gloves picking trash up, Picavet said.
"We believe that it was a trash mob, but we are still investigating the situation," Picavet said.
Remnants of fireworks and briquettes are also being found on the grass, not 100 yards from homes and historic buildings, all of which do not mix well with fire, she said.
"It costs money to clean all this up, it is like stealing it from the budget that could go to kids programs or to facilities," Picavet said. "Anytime we have to avert funding to take care of this garbage it's wasting tax payer money that could be spent in so many better ways."
According to Picavet, the parks maintenance crew is still not sure how to deal with it, however, she does know that they cannot continue to support cleaning up after this reckless behavior.
This is the second time a phenomenon such as thing has occurred, Picavet said. Ironically, the other time was in June, on Earth Day.