Volunteers Celebrated Earth Month Last Saturday with more than 100 Cleanup Events

Cleanups continue amid uncertain year in Maryland, Virginia, & Washington DC

This past Saturday, April 10, 2021, the Alice Ferguson Foundation and dozens of partners celebrated the 33rd Annual Potomac River Watershed Cleanup. More than 100 trash cleanup events occurred throughout the Potomac River Watershed, including events in Maryland, the District of Columbia, and Virginia. This year’s cleanups are following COVID-19 safety guidelines set by local jurisdictions, including social distancing, limiting the number of volunteers per event, and using time slot registration for larger cleanup efforts. 

During Potomac River Watershed Cleanup events, volunteers collect citizen science data, including total pounds of trash removed and most commonly found trash items. The most commonly found items at this year’s cleanup included food wrappers, plastic bottles and plastic bags. Tires, car parts and dumped appliances also featured prominently among the larger objects retrieved by volunteers.

The data successfully serves to implement waste-reduction legislation, including the plastic bag fees and the Anacostia River Styrofoam ban.

“More than eighty percent of our drinking water in the area comes from the Potomac River,” said Samantha Battersby, Alice Ferguson Foundation volunteer coordinator. “It’s incredibly important that everyone does their part to keep our streams and communities clean, safe, and healthy.”

With increasing attention on the beauty of our region’s waterways, and the immediate threat of plastic pollution, volunteers are taking action. Since 1989, more than 150,000 volunteers have collectively prevented 8 million pounds of trash from entering the Potomac River.

With more than 200 #PotomacCleanup events planned throughout the watershed this April, community leaders, regional stakeholders, and volunteers are making a difference for the water we drink and the rivers we love. You can still join an event this April by finding a cleanup near you.

Visit PotomacCleanup.org to learn more.

The Alice Ferguson Foundation’s educational programs unite students, educators, park rangers, communities, regional organizations, and government agencies throughout the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area to promote the environmental sustainability of the Potomac River watershed.

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