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Mayor Lee & San Francisco Giants Launch Giant Sweep Anti-Litter Campaign

Renewed Effort toCreate Community Culture of Clean in San Francisco

Mayor Edwin M. Lee and the World Champion San Francisco Giants launched Giant Sweep, a Citywide anti-litter campaign that partners with local schools, residents, businesses and community groups to keep San Francisco clean and beautiful. The campaign involves hands-on activities teaming City workers with community volunteers to pick up litter and a major educational component encompassing classroom curriculum and a public information campaign.

“It’s going to take a team effort to keep our City world-class, clean and green,” said Mayor Lee. “We want to create a culture of clean so that everyone from young to old can embrace their role as a City steward and reject the idea that it’s okay to litter. We all need to join the team to keep SF clean.”

Last year the Giants showed us that winning the World Series took a team effort that went far beyond individual heroics. It required the effort of every player, coach, manager, and support staff – not to mention the fans– to build a championship team. The same approach is needed to attack San Francisco’s litter problem. The Giant Sweep will help San Francisco remain a place where people want to live, work and visit.

“The Giants learned firsthand last year that challenges can be overcome. We won the World Series with determination, talent and team work. It wasn’t easy, and neither will keeping San Francisco clean,” said San Francisco Giants President and CEO Larry Baer. “But when we succeed, the effort will have been worth it.”

Joining Mayor Lee at the Giant Sweep kickoff event was Giants outfielder Hunter Pence, who earned the nickname “Preacher” last fall for the motivational pep talks he delivered to his teammates as they advanced through the post season. Also joining the effort was Lou Seal, the Giants team mascot who helped rally the Giants to victory and who now will help rally the City to get involved in the Giant Sweep. Giants’ stadium public-address announcer Renel Brooks-Moon emceed the event.

Department of Public Works (DPW) cleaning crews last year picked up 22,800 tons of litter and illegally dumped materials, such as tattered couches and broken TVs, from the City’s streets and sidewalks. The nearly 6,000 volunteers who participated in the organized Community Clean Team events picked up 62 tons of trash.

“One of the most important jobs we have at the Department of Public Works is to keep San Francisco safe and looking good. We have cleaning crews working 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It is a monumental undertaking, and one we and our partner City agencies cannot do alone,” said DPW Director Mohammed Nuru. “We need residents, merchants and students-all of us-to take care of the areas around our homes, businesses, parks and schools. But more importantly, we have to get to the point where people don't trash San Francisco in the first place.”

Mayor Lee has directed all City agencies to incorporate the Giant Sweep into their work scope. The Municipal Transportation Agency will step up efforts to keep the buses and streetcars clean; the Department on the Environment will incorporate the Giant Sweep theme in its outreach to schools; and the Recreation and Park Department will integrate anti-litter initiatives into their programs and special events, such as fun runs, organized sports leagues and park stewardship activities for young people.

“We’re excited to be part of the team,” said Recreation and Park Department General Manager Phil Ginsburg. “Our parks are sacred places, and it takes everyone to pitch in and care for them.”

The San Francisco Arts Commission also has signed on to get the arts community involved. Already, Steve Silver’s Beach Blanket Babylon, the world’s longest-running musical revue and a San Francisco icon, has joined the Giant Sweep team to keep San Francisco clean and beautiful – and entertained. To help kick off the campaign, a cast member from Beach Blanket Babylon belted out a song with original lyrics in keeping with the Giant Sweep theme.

San Francisco’s public and private schools are instrumental partners in ensuring Giant Sweep will succeed. Classroom presentations on the costly impacts of litter and what people can do to combat the problem will be offered in schools. In addition, students, teachers and administrators can sign up for the new “adopt-a-school” program in which they agree to help keep the grounds around their campuses clean. Students also can enter Giant Sweep poster and PSA competitions and win prizes for logging volunteer hours. Abraham Lincoln High School hosted the Giant Sweep campaign kickoff. Second-graders from Children’s Day School in San Francisco have been learning about how litter degrades the environment and the quality of life in neighborhoods and participated in the kick-off event.

“We have a robust sustainability program that incorporates eco-literacy and reduces the district’s environmental footprint - and last year, our schools diverted 57 percent of their waste from landfill,” said Board of Education President Rachel Norton. “Helping create a non-littering culture for San Francisco is a natural extension of what our students already are learning.”

“Clean streets means a more sustainable and livable San Francisco,” said Department of the Environment Director Melanie Nutter. “By reducing litter in our neighborhoods and increasing the use of the City’s recycling and composting programs, we are also moving one step closer to our goal of zero waste.”

Today marked the first of a series of Giant Sweep events, each of them taking place Fridays and Saturdays – Fridays focused on schools and Saturdays on neighborhood cleanups – during the baseball season. The Giant Sweep days are scheduled in February, April, June and September.

The first Saturday event takes place on February 9th from 9 a.m. to noon in District 6 neighborhoods, to pick up litter, paint out graffiti and work on greening projects, kicking off at United Nations Plaza. Residents can get rid of unwanted household items on Saturday at four locations in Districts 3, 4, 6 and 9 between 8 a.m. and noon. The locations are: Walter Lum Alley at Washington; West Sunset Playground on Quintana near 40th Avenue; Golden Gate Disposal at 900 Seventh Street; and Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School at 350 Girard Street. For faster drop-off, call Recology, a major Giant Sweep sponsor, at 415-330-1300 to make a free appointment.

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