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News & information from the City of San Diego

Environmental Services

More Than 1,000 Tons of Trash Removed From City Streets and Sidewalks

before picture a pile of trash, after picture the pile of trash cleared

In less than a year since its launch, the City of San Diego’s Enhanced Hot Spot Program has reached a significant milestone: Hot Spot crews have removed more than 1,000 tons of waste from areas near and around homeless encampments. That amount adds up to nearly 4.5 times the weight of the Statue of Liberty. 

“Through this program, we are providing an enhanced level of service,” said Renee Robertson, Director of the City’s Environmental Services Department. “Our Hot Spot crews are busy seven days a week making San Diego sidewalks and streets cleaner and safer for everyone.”  

The City’s Environmental Services Department (ESD) dispatches Hot Spot crews to remove waste and large litter from the public right of way in areas most heavily affected by waste discarded by unsheltered people. Code compliance officers direct the work of clean-up crews throughout neighborhoods to address known and discovered “hot spots” that pose a public health or environmental concern. 

The Enhanced Hot Spot Program – created to address quality-of-life concerns such as neighborhood litter – started as a pilot in the fall of 2022 and was an immediate success. In the first eight weeks, crews removed more than 140 tons of waste at 900 spots/locations. The program became permanent in the spring of this year. 

Hot Spot crews work around and directly adjacent to homeless encampments, but do not assist or conduct encampment abatements or directly address active or inactive encampments; encampments are addressed by separate ESD crews and outreach workers.   

About the Environmental Services Department (ESD): 

ESD ensures City of San Diego residents have a clean and safe environment. The department pursues waste management strategies that emphasize waste reduction and recycling, composting and environmentally sound landfill management. ESD is also responsible for collecting and disposing of refuse, recyclables, household hazardous waste and green waste.