San Diego

Local Non-Profit Turns River Trash Into Art

4Walls International has completed some projects all over the world

One local organization is turning trash from recent storms in San Diego into art and showcasing it at Imperial Beach.

"We have heavy flows of scrap tires, of single use plastics and foam, plastic bottles, the truth is that more than 70 percent of the material that's found in the river, we can re-purpose," explained co-founder of 4Walls International Steven Wright.

Signs posted in Imperial Beach warn visitors that it is sewage contaminated water and not safe for people to be in. Much of the dirty runoff is coming from the Tijuana River, which at times, is full of trash.

The endless trash in the Tijuana River is a problem that has been happening for a long time, and part of the reason Steven Wright said he and a friend started 4Walls International nine years ago.

The nonprofit has completed some projects all over the world, including in Imperial Beach.

One was at Border Field State Park where they re-purposed 4,000 plastic bottles and trash, as well as more than 250 tires into a beautiful area, displaying the park's sign.

They've also re-purposed plastic bottles into benches all around town and colorful art sculptures. It doesn't stop there, they also helped build the first homes using trash in Colombia.

“Using the right kind of engagement methodology, and combining that with art and with sustainable construction technologies that we can encourage communities to become more resilient and sustainable," Wright added.

4Walls International has even more projects lined up in Imperial Beach this summer.

Meanwhile, health experts say you should wait at least 72 hours after it rains before going back in the water.

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