On the day before the Super Bowl, a bunch of coastal volunteers did not spend the morning preparing football snacks.
Instead, the Shark Stewards and the San Francisco Dolphin Club cleaned up about 30 pounds of cardboard and more than 1,000 pieces of plastic and spent firecracker fuses at Aquatic Park in San Francisco. Typically, the volunteers find about five to 10 pounds of garbage each cleanup.
The garbage was found the day after the second Macy's fireworks show in San Francisco ahead of the Super Bowl, and it marked the second time during the Super Bowl festivities that the beach was littered with junk. It's unclear, though, if this was garbage left from the second show, or just junk from the first show that washed up on the shore with the tide.
Macy's held its first show on Jan. 30, and National Park Service employees filled up four 50-gallon trash cans with plastics and what looked like fireworks casings.
Macy's spokesman Orlando Veras did not immediately have a response to the second appearance of garbage littering the beach, saying that he needed more information. Late Monday, after seeing NBC Bay Area's story, Veras said that after the first fireworks show, Pryo Spectaculars "took a number of measures to minimize any impact to the shoreline" for the second show, mostly by securing materials differently on the barges near the Bay Bridge, and doing a better job of cleaning up afterwards. He said the pyrotechnics team looked at the pictures taken by volunteers, which they say look like fireworks from the first show.
San Francisco Baykeeper Executive Director Sejal Choksi-Chugh told NBC Bay Area her nonprofit agency had been trying to work with the companies involved to find a working compromise. But "since it happened again, we are concerned," she said. Baykeeper has the power under the Clean Water Act to enforce the law, she said, adding that she is still trying to connect with the stakeholders to remedy the situation and prevent future messes on the beach.
In an email to Baykeeper, Shark Stewards director David McGuire said he would be "willing to testify, and pursue the prosecution of illegal discharge," such as all the junk found on the beach along San Francisco's pristine bay.
McGuire, the founder of the Ocean Health and Shark Conservation and the nonprofit Shark Stewards, said that if there is any legal settlement in the future, the money would also help the groups recover costs and maintain the cleanup program. He and other groups typically focus on cleaning up cigarette butts off the beaches, but switched their focus to Super Bowl cleanup last week. He said San Francisco estimates the costs of cigarette butt cleanups to be $6 million annually.