San Jose

San Jose College Student Doing Daily Cleanups Has Picked Up Over 20,000 Pounds of Trash

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A San Jose college student is proving one person can truly make a difference when it comes to protecting the planet.

Edgar McGregor, a 22-year-old San Jose State University climatology student, picks up trash every day in Bay Area parks, and now he's inspiring others to do the same.

McGregor began his cleanup quest in 2019. Since then, he has singlehandedly picked up more than 20,000 pounds of trash.

"When I'm cleaning up these locations, I try and look for areas where regular cleanup crews wouldn't expect to find trash, like some of those back canyons where litter's been sitting back there for 50-60 years," he said.

He hunts for trash for about an hour and a half a day.

"Some unusual items include things like the floating chlorine dispensers that people have in their backyard pools," he said. "I'll find wallets. I'll find cell phones. I'll find credit cards."

While he tries not to focus on what litter bugs leave behind, he does have one pet peeve.

"That's going to have to be doggy bags," he said. "Doggy bags smell. They pollute the natural world. They pollute our waterways."

He began his cleanup mission when he realized picking up litter once a week wasn't making much of a difference. So, he's started doing it every day.

"This is going to be my 1,362nd daily trash pickup," he said on a recent cleanup.

It's a dirty job, but he sees it as a chance to get outdoors, meet new people and perhaps inspire others along the way.

"I think it's great," Paul Angarano of San Jose said. "It's nice to see, especially young people, that have community spirit, that are interested in taking care of things. Kind of gives me some ideas about talking to other people on our street to maybe get something going like that also."

McGregor will graduate from San Jose State later this year and plans to continue his trash cleanups in Southern California.

"I want other people to join me on this mission wherever they are," he said. "This is fun. I enjoy coming out here and protecting these local areas. I enjoy the scavenger hunt game that is cleaning up trash in local parks."

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