Earth Day activists demand radioactive waste be cleared from SF Bayview District

It is Earth Day and activists in San Francisco took to the street saying the battle to protect the environment comes down to environmental justice. Activists are asking for justice for the city's Bayview District.

Young activists took to the streets of San Francisco, marching and demanding environmental justice on Earth Day. Youth organizers said they're speaking out to protect their community. "I'm here because I have family in Bayview, I have family with asthma, who have been affected by environmental injustice in Bayview and it's important for us as youth to speak out," said organizer Michael Sturdivant.

As the crowd marched, artists were preparing the steps of City Hall for their arrival. Natalie Deiner is the creative talent behind an eco-friendly mural. "So we have demands to re-test, to clean up the contamination and to give reparations to those who in the Bayview who were impacted by this radiation for generations," said Natalie Deiner.

Activists say decades of military activity in the shipyards left radioactive waste in the Bayview District, and the people living and working in that community are left bearing the toll. 

Arieann Harrison is carrying on the environmental battle for justice her mother Marie Harrison fought for so long. "Now what we're fighting for is environmental justice specifically, it's been a decades-long fight, however we're here to win it," said Harrison.

Organizers are adamant the former military sites need to be re-tested for contaminates and that those living here need to be compensated for decades of living with those dangerous contaminates present. "I have about five toxic chemicals in my body as we speak and radioactive isotopes," said Harrison. "That is serious business."

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Environmental activists say everyone deserves a safe place to live. "Yes, we want clean air, water and land," said Harrison. 'Those are basic human needs. I think that we are worth that, and our kids are worth that."

KTVU has reached out to the Navy, the Environmental Protection Agency and California's Department of Toxic Substance Control to see if they could address concerns about toxic waste in the Bayview.  So far we have not heard back.

Earth Day celebrations continue Saturday. The Earth Day festival returns to the Mission District, for the first time since the pandemic.