They call themselves “trash warriors.”
Disgusted by the garbage that lines San Jose’s local freeways and surrounding areas, some members of the Harker community have become part of a team that dedicates one Saturday a month to litter cleanup on and around Highway 280.
Called “trashathons,” the effort is officially part of the California Adopt-A-Highway Program.
Upper school history teacher Carol Zink discovered the program and made Harker aware of it. Now she is joined by fellow faculty, parents and students in the litter roundup. The last trash pick-up day took place on Jan. 19, with the next one slated to occur on Feb. 16.
Crew members, who must be at least 16 years old or have written parental consent to join the monthly effort, meet and collect their gear (a bright yellow safety vest, hard hat, gloves, goggles, pick-up stick and supply of big trash bags) at the corner of Leigh and Moorpark, across from San Jose City College. At the end of each road beautification session, which run for several hours in the morning, the volunteer workers head over to Round Table Pizza on Bascom where they are treated to pizza and soft drinks.
“We hope to get more volunteers,” said Zink, who joined in the program last spring after reading about it in a local newspaper. She then contacted the organizer and asked if she and her crew could pick up trash along the ramps leading to and from Harker to 280.
“The weather has been pretty rainy lately and we had a short crew last month because of rain in some parts of the valley,” she added, hoping the next cleanup day will be sunny.
Over the years, the trash warriors have picked up some interesting finds during their trashathons, including a loaded shotgun shell (turned over to the police), a pair of nearly new high heels, an expensive motorcycle helmet, and a rubber Halloween mask.