FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
July 1, 2014
(Washington, DC) Thousands of Potomac Watershed residents battled against the negative impacts of litter this spring through the two of the Alice Ferguson Foundation’s Trash Free Potomac Watershed Initiative’s programs. The 26th Annual Potomac River Watershed Cleanup saw a record breaking number of volunteers and cleanup sites this spring, bringing the historic legacy of the annual Cleanup to engaging 138,000 volunteers and removing seven million pounds of trash from the Potomac Watershed. Along with the Cleanup, enforcement agencies from around the Potomac Watershed partnered with the Alice Ferguson Foundation during the fourth annual Litter and Illegal Dumping Enforcement Month, which works to increase awareness of littering, illegal dumping, and related crimes through public education, officer education, and enforcement.
Led by the Alice Ferguson Foundation and our partner organizations, 14,716 volunteers removed 288 tons trash and debris from the region at 670 of cleanup sites throughout Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania and West Virginia during the 26th Annual Potomac River Watershed Cleanup. This year’s numbers were a record high for the Annual Cleanup, an exciting trend for the Foundation. “As participation continues to increase, more people are experiencing the negative impact of litter first hand, and more people are spurred into action in order to strengthen their communities and protect their environment,” said Lori Arguelles, Executive Director of the Alice Ferguson Foundation. “The Annual Cleanup has become catalyst in the fight against litter in the Potomac Watershed.”
Along with experiencing the negative environmental impact of litter first hand, residence of the region were reminded that there are criminal consequences to littering during the fourth annual Litter Enforcement Month (LEM), a partnership between regional law enforcement departments, and the Alice Ferguson Foundation. During LEM, participating agencies issued a total of 348 litter related citations, violations, and other reports. They also gave community presentations, hosted dumpster days, and held more than 38 community cleanups removing close to eight tons of litter from city streets, alleys, waterways and properties. LEM not only raised awareness of the litter laws this April, but it also empowered people to take control, take care of their trash.
These efforts and outcomes by participating agencies demonstrate that enforcement is an important piece in the puzzle to create a trash free Potomac. “Littering and related crimes threaten the integrity of our communities and undermine the beauty and natural resources of the Potomac Watershed,” said Clara Elias, Program Manager for the Trash Free Potomac Watershed Initiative. “By promoting increased awareness surrounding these crimes, LEM creates the behavior change that is essential in creating a lasting reduction in trash pollution in the Potomac Watershed.”
Litter Enforcement Month 2014 Participants include:
Maryland: Montgomery County Police Department and Prince George’s County Police Department
Virginia: Alexandria Police Department, Code Administration, Sheriff’s Office, and Department of Transportation and Environmental Services; Prince William County Police Department and Neighborhood Services; City of Falls Church Police Department; and Manassas City Police Department.
Other: District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department; Metro Transit Police; and United States Park Police.
The Cleanup is sponsored by: Beveridge and Diamond; Chesapeake Bay Roasting Company; Colornet Printing; The District Department of the Environment; ExxonMobil; Gangplank Marina Slipholders Association; Greater Prince George’s County Business Roundtable; Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation; MGM Resorts International; MOM’s Organic Market; National Geographic FieldScope; National Marine Sanctuary Foundation; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration-Marine Debris Program; Prince George’s County Department of Natural Resources; REI; Southern Maryland Electronic Cooperative; Starbucks; and Washington Gas.
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, DC. As we fulfill our mission of connecting people to nature and inspiring actions that sustain our world, we provide environmental education programs at Hard Bargain Farm and through our Bridging the Watershed program at National Parks throughout the Potomac River Watershed. Our Trash Free Potomac Watershed Initiative seeks systemic solutions to the persistent problem of trash. Learn more at www.fergusonfoundation.org.