Bird Rock council hears city concerns about trash overflow and safety

Using the share-screen feature on Zoom, Andrea Deleon shows the Bird Rock Community Council tips for safe trash disposal.
Using the share-screen feature on Zoom, Andrea Deleon of the San Diego Environmental Services Department shows the Bird Rock Community Council some tips for safe trash disposal.

Two garbage-related issues were discussed at the June 9 Bird Rock Community Council meeting (held a week later than usual due to technical difficulties associated with Zoom): an update on a plan to replace some of the trash cans maintained by the Maintenance Assessment District and a report from the city of San Diego explaining some of the issues it is having when it comes to proper trash disposal.

Andrea Deleon of the San Diego Environmental Services Department said the city is seeing “a huge increase” in trash production during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic with more people relying on food takeout and delivery, not using reusable bags when grocery shopping (in accord with a state order that went into effect in April) and more.

“Unfortunately, we are seeing trash overflow across the city,” Deleon said. “We are seeing a 20 percent waste increase ever since stay-at-home orders have been in place. Folks are home more, so the waste that might have been generated at school or work is now being generated at home.”

She added that more people are doing spring cleaning, leading to even more trash in bins.

“We are trying to get information out … about our COVID-19 trash and recycling safety,” Deleon said. “People actually touch this stuff, whether it is volunteers picking up litter or our drivers or haulers have to pick what spills onto the street. With COVID-19, we are concerned with their safety. So teaching residents how to do this properly is really important.”

As part of the city’s recommendations — which can be found at — those who use personal protective equipment at work and dispose of it at home need to use extra caution, folding over the area of exposure before throwing it away. Recycling needs to be put in a bin, not in a bag. Residents also are advised not to overflow their bins or place waste on the ground.

Additional recycling and trash questions and concerns can be emailed to

In Bird Rock, residents say they have seen excessive use of trash cans at overlooks. At some locations, additional trash cans have been placed in case of overflow.

“There has definitely been excess trash going in and overflowing, and that is partly because of the increase in takeout — there are a lot of people eating in the area and then they dump their trash, which is fine, but when they overfill the trash can, they leave it next to the can,” said Bird Rock Maintenance Assessment District manager Barbara Dunbar. “There has also been an increase in litter along [La Jolla] Boulevard and at the overlooks.”

She recommended that when a can is full, people take their trash to dispose of it in another location.

Some trash cans within MAD bear the effects of old age, rust, rough use, vandalism and more and are set to be replaced.

MAD is looking to replace some during the next fiscal year with ones with stronger lids.

“One of the items is to just try and find something that will look good, be sturdy, fairly long-lasting that has a better top,” Dunbar said.

Other Community Council news

Homelessness: Speaking during the meeting’s public comment period, Bird Rock attorney Danna Cotman said she has observed “an uptick” in homeless people along La Jolla Boulevard and has safety concerns in light of COVID-19.

“I’ve had instances where homeless people are sleeping on our front porch blocking our door,” she said. “I have an essential business and we visit the office every day. I see people walking by every day and not doing anything. We don’t want homeless people sleeping on our property, but it is also a safety issue at this point because of COVID.”

Peters co-sponsors Justice in Policing Act: U.S. Rep. Scott Peters (D-La Jolla) is a co-sponsor of the Justice in Policing Act of 2020, intended to end racial profiling and change the culture of law enforcement, according to Kiera Galloway, a representative of his office.

“The act includes more accountability measures, including reforming qualified immunity, improves transparency by collecting better and more accurate data on use of force, improves police training practices and makes lynching a federal crime, among other things,” she said.

Moss Lane railing replacement: Representing the office of City Council member and La Jolla resident Barbara Bry, Steve Hadley reported that funding to fix a deteriorating railing at the Moss Lane overlook did not make it into the city’s fiscal 2021 budget.

“We had hoped that was something the mayor would put through for us, but that did not happen, so we are going to continue to ask for funding to repair the railing,” Hadley said.

Next meeting: The Bird Rock Community Council next meets at 6 p.m. Tuesday, July 7, via Zoom, with planned attendance by San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher. Learn more at