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Rillito River wash trashed after storm

Posted at 7:23 PM, Jul 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-26 01:31:24-04

TUCSON, Ariz. -- The monsoon came roaring on Wednesday, leaving a pile of trash behind in the wash.

Alejandro Santa Cruz, a local, is now on a mission to clean up the wash before the next big downpour.

He helped found ‘A Better Rillito,’ a group that dedicated itself to clean up the Rillito River wash.

The last storm left flooded streets and trash all over this wash.

Santa Cruz tells KGUN9 they were able to clean up quite a bit, but the storm came faster than they thought.

“It definitely did beat us. Like we were trying to clean as much as we could all the way until Fort Lowell and Alvernon, he said.

Santa Cruz has been picking up trash in the wash daily.

“We were cleaning this waterway and now a bunch of trash that was further south from here just flushed in here, and it’s pretty sad, but it’s going to keep us busy,” he said.

Last week their efforts brought them to the Rillito River wash.

They picked up needles, bottles, shoes, clothing, and even pots and pans.

Hours were spent cleaning up, but it wasn’t enough.

“ight now we see speakers, grocery carts, lots of plastic, clothes, sleeping bags, straws, bottles of water. There’s a lot of trash everywhere,” Santa Cruz added.

However, he says the trash pile-up after the downpour isn’t surprising.

“Sadly I was expecting it because there’s a lot of homeless people who need a lot of our help,” he told KGUN9.

So Santa Cruz is doing his part.

“Starting next week, Mondays and Saturdays, at 6 o’clock, we meet at a certain point. We provide trash bags, buckets, trash pickers, gloves and we have fun just picking up trash,” he added.

Through all this hee says even though storms can be unpredictable, he’s sure of one thing.

“This trash should not be here. We are very shocked to see how nasty it is right now and we want to clean it up,” Santa Cruz told KGUN9.

While his drive to clean-up is stronger than ever, his goal remains the same.

“The whole goal is to prevent all that trash to go into the Rillito. As a group we have lots of work to do to prevent all of this,” he said.