Diseased Streets: Investigative Unit Finds Horrific Discovery In San Francisco

Praying hands (Photo by: Godong/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

An investigative team for NBC Bay Area is ranking San Francisco among one of the world’s dirtiest cities after they conducted a search of more than 150 blocks in the downtown area.

The investigative team found dozens of instances of garbage, drug needles, and feces throughout the streets, and “discovered conditions that are now being compared to some of the worst slums in the world.”

Check it out:


Per the report:

The investigation revealed trash littered across every block. The survey also found 41 blocks dotted with needles and 96 blocks sullied with piles of feces.

How dirty is San Francisco? An NBC Bay Area Investigation reveals a dangerous mix of drug needles, garbage, and feces throughout downtown San Francisco. The Investigative Unit surveyed 153 blocks of the city – the more than 20-mile stretch includes popular tourist spots like Union Square and major hotel chains. The area – bordered by Van Ness Avenue, Market Street, Post Street and Grant Avenue – is also home to City Hall, schools, playgrounds, and a police station.

According to the report, the investigative team took pictures of nearly a dozen hypodermic needles in the distance of one block. The team also was able to interview a group of preschool students and their teacher who walked over that block on their way into city hall for a field trip.

“We see poop, we see pee, we see needles, and we see trash,” Adelita Orellana, a teacher, said. “Sometimes they ask what is it, and that’s a conversation that’s a little difficult to have with a 2-year old, but we just let them know that those things are full of germs, that they are dangerous, and they should never be touched.”

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Continued:

In light of the dangerous conditions, part of Orellana’s responsibilities now include teaching young children how to avoid the contamination.

“The floor is dirty,” said A’Nylah Reed, a 3-year-old student at the preschool, who irately explained having to navigate dirty conditions on her walks to school.

Kim Davenport, A’nyla’s mother, often walks her daughter to the Compass preschool on Leavenworth Street in San Francisco. She said she often has to pull her daughter out of the way in order to keep her from stepping on needles and human waste. “I just had to do that this morning!”

And:

“If you do get stuck with these disposed needles you can get HIV, Hepatitis C, Hepatitis B, and a variety of other viral diseases,” said Dr. Lee Riley, an infectious disease expert at University of California, Berkeley. He warned that once fecal matter dries, it can become airborne, releasing potentially dangerous viruses, such as the rotavirus. “If you happen to inhale that, it can also go into your intestine,” he said. The results can prove fatal, especially in children.

Riley has researched conditions across the poorest slums of the world. His book titled, “Slum Health,” examines health problems that are created by extreme poverty.

The situation has steadily gotten worsen since 2008 and now ranks the city among those in India, Brazil and Kenya:

Based on the findings of the Investigative Unit survey, Riley believes parts of the city may be even dirtier than slums in some developing countries.

“The contamination is … much greater than communities in Brazil or Kenya or India,” he said. He notes that in those countries, slum dwellings are often long-term homes for families and so there is an attempt to make the surroundings more livable. Homeless communities in San Francisco, however, are often kicked out from one part of town and forced to relocate to another. The result is extreme contamination, according to Riley.

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