Santa Barbara Old Spanish Days (Fiesta) Cascarones Confetti

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Heal the Ocean successfully worked with the City of Santa Barbara to establish a program to prevent confetti from polluting local waterways

In 2015, Heal the Ocean approached the City of Santa Barbara regarding Cascarones Confetti (mylar plastic) from the Old Spanish Days (Fiesta) in downtown Santa Barbara storm drains. This issue has repeatedly come up over the years as a potential pollution issue, with mylar waste from the confetti presenting a risk to the marine environment. In response to our collaboration on a solution, the City developed an innovative pilot program to test “silt fencing,” which is the same material used to contain sediment on construction sites, to block confetti from entering the City’s downtown catchment basins and storm drains during annual festivities and parades.

As of the end of 2015, the City had successfully tested this system during Old Spanish Days and the Solstice Parade with additional plans to test greater street sweeping frequency to achieve enhanced cleanup in future parades. This program is a significant step towards supporting a cherished citywide tradition and protecting our creeks and ocean from unnecessary litter and pollution.