Mission Dolores Park, a cornerstone for residents and popular hang-out spot for tourists, is littered with trash and empty bottles from the day’s recreational activities. The state of the park is a far cry from years past.
Trash left behind at the park is an issue that has prompted the formation of Love Dolores, an organization which advocates for recycling by simply encouraging park-goers to toss their cans in the garbage and recycling cans at the perimeter of the park to keep it clean.
Love Dolores has set up signs in, out and around the park. The chalkboard signs, posters and maps aim to promote cleaning up the park. One poster conveys its message in a pop-art comic format. The poster says “A struggle ensues at Dolores Park. Clean & Classy VS Vile & Trash,” depicting a cartoon and using a separate panel on the side that says “Your Choice” with Love Dolores logo on the side.
“Even if you get people to do something about it there’ll always be the ones that don’t and maybe they should act less rubbish,” said Max Levell, a University of California, Santa Barbara foreign exchange student from London.
Levell expressed that the park was wonderful but didn’t get the hype about it. He also mentioned that Dolores gets packed but trashing it seems unnecessary.
The occasional cigarette and bottle caps is fine but leaving cups of leftover boba tea on the ground isn’t a good look for anyone — especially park-goers, said Levell
Some, however, haven’t noticed the problem.
“I haven’t really thought about there being a garbage problem or that it was serious. But from the times I’ve noticed empty bottles and wrappers,” said Aliyah LaCuesta, a kinesiology student in her third year at SF State. “I wasn’t aware that there was a group that cleans up the park.”
Although LaCuesta wasn’t aware of the existence of the group, she thinks it’s “cool” that people come volunteer to help keep the park clean, considering that there’s a school nearby.
San Francisco resident Rowan, admires the park but has seen a change over time.
“I’ve been living in the neighborhood for about 10 years, I’ve seen Dolores Park get more popular over the years,” said Rowan who lives blocks away from the park. “I think it’s a safe place to be. I love seeing people coming here to have a nice time.”
Rowan wasn’t aware about the chalkboard signs or who put them up, but he did mention that he noticed people doing park cleanups on the weekend. He had no idea that that the group of volunteers is actually Love Dolores.
“Rangers deal with the garbage when they go to work every mess, but they’re there to enforce the state code and laws,” according to the San Francisco Recreation & Parks Department.
Love Dolores urges park-goers to help keep their beloved Mission Dolores Park clean and enjoyable for everyone.
“Just take your s—t with you and it won’t be a problem,” said Levell.