By Elaine Burrell
The Global Gourmet Catering team was back in action last week, partnering up once again with San Francisco Baykeeper. For 30 years, Baykeeper has worked to stop pollution and other threats to San Francisco Bay and its tributaries throughout the Bay Area with a patrol boat that regularly monitors and investigates pollution and harmful activities in the Bay.
A team of six Global Gourmet Catering volunteers jumped on the Baykeeper boat and spent an afternoon observing and learning about the nonprofit’s mission to protect the San Francisco Bay and work towards it being free from pollution and safe for recreation with clean water and healthy beaches.
Since 1989, Baykeeper has advocated for the health of the San Francisco Bay. They use science and clean water laws to improve the habitats and communities reliant on a thriving Bay ecosystem. There are over 1,800 industrial facilities on the bay, and Baykeeper makes sure they are complying with the rules.
Our first stop aboard the Baykeeper boat was at the Levin-Richmond facility, one of the Bay’s previous worst industrial polluters. After years of allowing harmful materials to be stored onsite which would wash, fall and blow into the Bay, a settlement was finally reached in 2014 that required the firm to better manage and clean up their pollutants. From our boat, Baykeeper pointed out all of the trouble spots the facility used to have, and what new measures and equipment is now in place to mitigate these issues. Some of these included: covering the docks so the harmful elements, including petroleum coke, would not fall through the cracks into the Bay. Other areas included covering their conveyors, so when the material is transported to ships, it does not fall off the conveyors into the water. It was interesting, however, that since the settlement, massive shipping containers have been put in place which form a barrier to view their operations.
The second stop was in Richardson Bay off the coast of Sausalito, where over 120 boats sit abandoned. While looking out onto the Bay, one sees the seemingly beautiful boats buoyed in the water. However, upon our close inspection, the team was shocked to realize that almost half of these boats had been illegally abandoned. Many of them were packed with junk like a hoarder’s overflowing garage. As Baykeeper described it, they become vessels for trash, sewage and hazardous fuel pollution, and most recently due to the housing crisis, a hot spot of homelessness and crime. (Who knew?) Baykeeper is currently working with local groups to determine regulations to help mitigate this issue.
The six volunteers from Global Gourmet Catering were absolutely enlightened by this educational experience, and are working diligently to spread the mission of this fantastic organization and these real life examples that need action, now. In addition, we are currently working to add Anchor Steam’s “Baykeeper IPA” to our beverage offerings. As Northern California’s First Certified Green Caterer, giving back to the community and working towards a greener future is deeply rooted in the company culture.
Global Gourmet’s Director of Community Relations, Raquel Esparz, who organizes these types of events for the company, stated, “One of the main reasons why we chose to spend the day with Baykeeper is because they are a local nonprofit organization that focuses their efforts to protect the health of the San Francisco Bay and ‘to care for thriving ecosystems’ is in line with Global Gourmet’s sustainability efforts.” To learn more about volunteering or donating to Baykeeper, visit their website at https://baykeeper.org.