‘Trash on Top of the Muck:’ Two Women Try to Clean Up Stockton’s Waterfront

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STOCKTON -- In response to long-standing complaints, one Stockton city councilwoman hopped in a boat and tried to clean up the downtown waterfront.

A suitcase was a little vessel for two turtles while aerosol cans and a flip-flop floated nearby in Stockton's smelly downtown waterfront.

"It’s not good for our city," said Stockton resident Kathleen Gapusan. "It’s not good for our environment. It’s trash on top of the muck that’s forming."

A GPS unit, ice chest and potty training seat were all removed by City Councilwoman Christina Fugazi and Gapusan in a little boat Monday.

"Pulled out a suitcase. We pulled out backpacks, shoes, but the most surprising thing was the kiddie car that was really heavy," Fugazi told FOX40.

Gapusan says she and other families have complained to city leaders to clean up the channel for years.

"And I want it to be the best it can be," Gapusan said. "This is our jewel."

The city councilwoman and science teacher of 24 years says she saw a real chance to take action because the debris seemed manageable. However, there were surprises lurking in the water

"Bryozoan, the algae, and the hyacinth grabbing onto the trash and weighing it down," Fugazi said.

The pair was able to remove four bags of trash. It's a small dent but Fugazi says there is a way local families may help clean up the waterfront for good.

"We need to set policy in place and for the people out there write letters, email, make calls, come to meetings and say, 'We can do better,'" Fugazi said.

Fugazi says she’s now speaking with constituents about ways to remove the trash. For instance, fishermen have advised using a net to sweep the trash away from the edge.

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