Northern California is figuring out how to tackle an unusual form of vandalism after 60 electric scooters were pulled from a one lake during October.
Oakland’s trendy form of transportation, designed to reduce pollution from cars, seems to have taken a dive as Lake Merritt has become a dumping ground for e-scooters.
Vehicles mainly owned by Bird and Lime that people hire to get around the city using a booking app, have been dragged out of the water in their dozens.
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Lake Merritt Institute is concerned batteries in dumped e-scooters may affect marine life
Sixty electric scooters were pulled from Lake Merritt in Oakland, California during October
There are concerns for dozens of bird species along the 3.4 miles of shoreline of the oldest wildlife refuge in the state. The batteries contained within the scooters – some of which also belong to Skip and Wind – pose a risk to marine life.
Ironically, the scooters were intended to help save the planet, with Bird claiming that when New York City’s L train closes down next year, introducing their system could replace the 1,500 more cars expected to be on the road, saving planet Earth 7.25 metric tons of carbon emissions.
‘We’ve been having a fair amount of the e-scooters come into the lake or thrown into the lake rather,’ said James Robinson, Executive Director of Lake Merritt Institute said.
‘These can be very damaging to our marine environment because they’re not natural things that go into the lake.’
While numbers for November have not yet been reported, it’s believed the random e-scooter dumping shows no sign of slowing down.
Although scooters are sometimes left in a place they not supposed to be parked, Robinson, whose company is responsible for maintenance of the lake, found the act of vandalism bizarre.
The vehicles are mainly owned by Skip and Wind, Bird and Lime and Lime is reportedly paying people up to $20 for each scooter they remove
Some have been fished out with the help of nets but those in a trickier position require a more extravagant operation.
‘Scooters was not something that I thought that I would be taking out of the lake,’ he added to
‘If they’re very far into the lake, this is very problematic because we have to launch a boat.’
Lime has been helping to remove not only their scooters but those from other companies on a daily basis.
They said in a statement that they’d be donating an undisclosed amount to the Lake Merritt Institute and planned on creating a ‘no parking zone’ to prevent people leaving the items near the water.
Lime is creating a ‘no parking zone’ along the water path and plans on donating an undisclosed amount to the Lake Merritt Institute
‘Additionally, each Lime scooter is equipped with GPS, which shows our operations team when a scooter is inside the lake,’ Lime said in the statement. We immediately deploy our operations teams to collect the scooters when we receive an internal or external report that a scooter is in the lake.’
Anyone found to be responsible for abandoning the e-scooters will be banned from the app.
Witnesses with information are asked to call the non-emergency number of 311 or report incidents online.
It not the first big pollution problem of its kind on the west coast. Similar incidents were reported in San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Portland, Oregon’s Willamette River has had 17 dumped according to
Elsewhere in the United States e-scooters have been submerged in Trinity River in Dallas, Texas and the Broad Ripple Canal in Indianapolis.