FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 22, 2016
CONTACT: Julene Joy
(College Park, MD) Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III; Montgomery County Executive Isiah “Ike” Leggett; and Washington, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser were honored as Potomac Champions today at the Alice Ferguson Foundation’s Transforming Communities Summit as elected officials, business leaders, community activists, and municipal managers focused on regional policies and efforts to reduce trash in communities along the Potomac River Watershed, particularly the Anacostia River.
The Summit’s theme of Trash-Free Solutions for Healthy Lives, Clean Land, and Safe Water was reflected in roundtable discussions that exhibited the enormous progress that has been made over the past decade since the Trash Treaty was signed in 2005. Sessions included information on how to comply with Styrofoam bans in several local jurisdictions, large scale food composting, and technologies for trapping trash in streams.
“The 2005 Trash Treaty brought attention to the pervasive problem of trash in our watershed,” said Alice Ferguson Foundation Executive Director Lori Arguelles. “While the past decade has yielded enormous progress, there is still much to be done to rid our communities and waterways of trash. Given that 80% of people in the Washington metropolitan region get their drinking water from the Potomac River, we all have a vested interest in transforming our communities for the sake of healthy lives, clean land, and safe water.”
The Trash Treaty, signed by nearly 200 regional elected officials, called for supporting and implementing regional strategies aimed at reducing trash and increasing recycling; increasing education and awareness of the trash issue throughout the Potomac Watershed; and convening annually to discuss and evaluate measures and actions addressing trash reduction.
Bag laws incentivizing reusable bags, Styrofoam bans, and plastic microbead bans are some of the significant accomplishments since the first Summit was held in March of 2006. These progressive policies, along with community focused initiatives, are among the reasons that County Executives Baker and Leggett, along with Mayor Bowser, are being recognized as Potomac Champions.
Other award recipients include: Julie Lawson, Trash Free Maryland Executive Director; Maurice Collier-Shabazz, Phyllis E. Williams Elementary School Teacher; District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department, Sixth District; Frankie Sherman, Charles County Department of Public Works; Deborah Turner, Coordinator for the District Heights Community Garden Program.
The Alice Ferguson Foundation connects people to the natural world, sustainable agricultural practices, and the cultural heritage of their local watershed through education, stewardship, and advocacy. AFF operates the Hard Bargain Farm Environmental Center—a 330 acre working farm located on the shorelines of the Potomac River south of Washington, D.C. Learn more at www.fergusonfoundation.org