SAN JOSE (KPIX) — A San Jose man, known as “the river watchdog,” said Thursday he has pulled nearly two dozen electric scooters from the Guadalupe River in just two days.
Roger Castillo said that number may be a small fraction of the number of e-scooters in the water. Castillo believes there are likely dozens of the Bird and Lime scooters in the deeper parts of the river that he can’t see.
Now he’s on a mission to stop it.
“This is a whole new beast,” Castillo said. “A real toxic thing that shouldn’t be in the water, we’re talking electronics, charged in the water.”
He said people, mostly the homeless, are ripping off the scooters for their parts, then dumping them in the water. Castillo is especially concerned about the lithium batteries.
“If you’ve got a stockpile of these, it’s kind of like radioactive,” he said. “I see it as radiation, you know, radiation for aquatic animals.”
He has started to photograph each e-scooter he finds in the Guadalupe.
While he believes the scooter companies should be held liable, others, like Andy Grosso, lay the blame squarely on “the people who leave them there.”
Transportation Department spokesperson Colin Heyne said in an e-mail that, when the city’s permit program begins in a few weeks, scooter companies will be required to retrieve broken devices within two hours.
Lime has not responded to our request for comment.
A Bird spokesperson said in a statement to KPIX 5, “Bird investigates all reports of vandalism and takes appropriate measures, including working with law enforcement and removing people from our platform.”
Castillo said salmon, trout and beavers are just some of the wildlife in the river and that e-scooters are putting them in danger.
“These things should be outlawed anywhere near watersheds,” Castillo said.