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Clean 15 program keeps state beautiful


A focus on Watts, Harbor Gateway

Clean California has been one of the focuses of Gov. Gavin Newsom, as he highlighted and supported various organizations that support a greener California. In 2021, Newsom announced a $300 Million Clean California Grant Program for local projects across the state, resulting in many successful cleaning projects, including the Clean 15 program. 

“Clean California is an unprecedented investment into cleaning up our state and engaging directly in our communities to create public spaces that all Californians can take pride in,” said Newsom when announcing the grant in 2021. “The funding is also an acknowledgment of what we all already know – it’s past time to take serious action to remove the unsightly litter on our streets and highways and in local communities. Clean California will create thousands of jobs and revitalize neighborhoods in every corner of our state.”

Since its launching, Newsom has funded over 110 organizations with $600 million dollars in the last two years. With the help of Caltrans, it has yielded more than 1.3 million cubic yards of litter removed from state highways and hired more than 830 new team members as part of Clean California. Clean California is a massive expansion of state and local litter abatement efforts that will remove 1.2 million cubic yards of trash from state highways each year. The initiative is set to generate an estimated 10,000 to 11,000 jobs over three years, including for people exiting homelessness, at-risk youth, veterans, those reentering society from incarceration, local artists, and students.

“Our communities and neighborhoods are weighed down by the buildup of trash and its negative impacts on our economy, environment, safety, and public health,” said Caltrans Director Toks Omishakin. “These Clean California grants are designed to help communities clean up and beautify their hometowns and local streets.”

Clean 15 program, first announced 100 days ago by councilman Tim McOsker, is doing its part of providing a cleaner California in neighborhoods like Watts, Harbor Gateway, Harbor City, and San Pedro by removing and discarding 1,570 tons of trash, as well as debris and overgrown vegetation on streets, alleys, and public spaces. 

“Having clean streets and sidewalks is critically important to our quality of life in the One-Five,” McOsker said as he explained that the program allows his office to be more agile to illegal dumping and trash problems. “I hope to continue this program for years to come because the difference it’s making is measurable, and the work uplifts the well-being of each community in the One-Five.”

The Clean 15 team has picked up 503 tons of trash in Watts; 182 tons of trash in Harbor Gateway; 77 tons in Harbor City;  and 114 tons of trash in San Pedro. “San Pedro residents demanded a reset of a clean streets standard, and Councilmember Tim McOsker listened,” said Mona Sutton, co-founder of Caring Proactive Residents in San Pedro. “I couldn’t be more thrilled with the creation of the ‘Clean 15’ gorilla-style, proactive street clean-up team,” she added.