Littering in Oakland


Why are people littering so much? In Oakland there is a lot of trash in the streets and in public places due to people littering a lot. Littering is when people decide to throw trash outside and not in a trash can. People litter in Oakland because they are simply lazy, and they think it’s socially acceptable.

People in Oakland litter because they are simply lazy to throw away something. This is true because people are illegally dumping and not throwing their trash in a public trash can. To begin, in an interview with Kristen Esquivel, a Oakland resident and student, she was explaining why people don’t throw away their trash properly. She commented,”People get used to people not cleaning up and so they’re like “alright they’re (the public) not cleaning up so let’s just not do it”…since they get use to it, they’re too lazy to throw away their trash”(Esquivel). She believes that people follow what other people do in not throwing away their trash. People don’t care or don’t think before they do because they are more focused on the hassle of having to carry it around until they find a public trash can since that is what they see other people do. This matters because this is one of the biggest reasons why people litter and why there’s a bunch of trash in the streets. Secondly, in the article “What you can do to take on Illegal Dumping” which comes from a City of Oakland California website, it explained the problem of illegal dumping. The City of Oakland California website informed,“Oakland Public Works crews cleaned up approximately 29,000 piles of illegal dumping in 2016–every single pile that was reported, and many more that crews found on their own! This is a 100-percent increase from what City crews were picking up five years ago”(City of Oakland California). This quote is saying that there’s a lot of people illegally dumping in Oakland. When the city says the words “100-percent increase” they mean that the percentage of people illegally dumping has increased by a lot. This matters because people are being lazy and not making an endeavor to find information on where to properly dispose of trash. Instead people are dumping their trash wherever they want.

People are littering in Oakland because they think it’s socially acceptable to litter. This is true because of the amount of trash there is and they see other people doing it. To start off, in an interview with Aleah Fajardo, an Oakland resident and after school teacher, she was explaining how she thinks people don’t care which is leading others to not care about the littering problem that we have. Fajardo points about, “I think, to me, it’s just a reflection of the city government, cause it’s like if the city government doesn’t care then why would they expect other people to care and I feel like I’ve heard that argument a lot”(Fajardo). She thinks that the government doesn’t care about people littering so other people also don’t care. This matters because the people that have power also don’t want to do anything towards the littering problem we have in Oakland so that would make other people not care and/or think it’s acceptable to litter. In the article “Street Trash washed into Lake Merritt, Oakland CA November, 2018” by Richard James he was explaining his studies on the first big rain Oakland had, which caused trash to be washed into Lake Merritt. James added,”The rain rinses the smog, plastic, cigarette butts, urine, oil, feces and all manner of other items off the streets of our cities into creeks, rivers, storm drains and eventually the ocean” (James). This quote and the picture on the left is showing that there was a lot of trash that had gone into Lake Merritt. This matters because it shows that there’s a lot of trash that people throw. Since there’s a lot of people seeing people who litter they think it’s ok to litter as well. When people see a lot of trash they would throw something on the ground because they think how much damage can a small piece of trash do. As more people think that the more trash there is going to be.

However, some may argue that people in Oakland might want to do something and do care about the littering, but it’s not their biggest priority. Some people might want to prioritize other issues that Oakland is struggling with like poverty, violence, or something else. A solution may be to bring more awareness to the public to show that littering is a big problem that our city is struggling with.

In conclusion, people litter in Oakland because they’re lazy to throw away their trash and people think it’s ok to throw away their trash onto the streets. Oakland isn’t going to get better and cleaner if more and more people start to litter.

Work Cited

“City of Oakland California.” Rent & Income Limits | Housing Policy, Planning and Research | City of Oakland | California,

This article is explaining how we can take care of and informing us of Oakland’s illegal dumping issue. This source is credible because it provides data on the illegal dumping in Oakland.

Esquivel, Kristen. “Littering Interview.” 12 Dec. 2018. I interviewed Kristen Esquivel about the littering that happens in Oakland.

I chose to interview her because she’s a student and resident here in Oakland. Everyday she walks to school and experiences the littering that happen on the streets.

Fajardo, Aleah. “Littering Interview.” 11 Dec. 2018. I interviewed Aleah Fajardo about the littering that happens in Oakland.

I chose to interview her because she lives here in Oakland and she’s an after school teacher so this means that she has first hand experience about how Oakland looks like.


James, Richard. “Street Trash Washed into Lake Merritt, Oakland CA 21 November, 2018.” The Coastodian, 21 Nov. 2018,

The article is explaining how the first rain of this year brought out a lot of trash into Lake Merritt. This source is credible because they have images showing proof that what they are saying is true.


CC BY-SA 4.0 Littering in Oakland by Jessica is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

  1. Lupita 11 hours ago

    Dear Jessica,

    I loved your article “Littering in Oakland” because it really pointed out why people litter and why they think that it is okay to do. I also, really liked how you thought about how cleaning up litter came make us look better as a city. One sentence that you wrote that really stood out to me is, “. She thinks that the government doesn’t care about people littering so other people also don’t care. This matters because the people that have power also don’t want to do anything towards the littering problem we have in Oakland so that would make other people not care and/or think it’s acceptable to litter. This really stood out to me because it really brought to light that people in power do not care much. In fact if think about it not many people in power publicly state that that this is a big problem and that it is WRONG but since they don’t do this people will just continue to do what they have seen others do. Thanks for your writing. I really look forward to seeing what you write next, because you bring out topics that other people don’t pay much attention to.

  2. America Diaz 5 days ago

    I really like what you wrote about because people think that is ok to throw trash in the streets but it’s not they don’t realize how they are damaging the community

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