Despite where we live in the District, litter is something that we find scattered in all corners of the city. The goal of the Regional Litter Prevention Campaign is to educate the community and to change attitudes and behavior around the bad habit of littering. I spend my days in this District of Columbia talking to people about litter and getting them involved with the Litter Campaign. Meeting community members who invest time daily to pick up trash provides a strong motivation for me to keep fighting for a trash free watershed. Kitty Dawson was the first community member I met who had a strong personal commitment to keeping her neighborhood trash free and can be found on most days picking up trash in Ward 5. I’ve asked Kitty to share what motivates her:
Looking out my living room window every morning gives me joy to see the lovely trees and birds. However, the trash disturbs me and it makes my smile disappear. I tell myself not to look at the trash so it won’t bother me, but that doesn’t work. I look around and wonder, ‘where is all the trash coming from, I just cleaned the street several hours ago?’
I care about the grass and I care about how my neighborhood looks, and I feel good picking up trash in my neighborhood. Honestly I say to myself it is not worth it because although there are trash bags around for people to dump their trash the trash still end up on the street or below the trash bag. But I continue because I care about my community so I will continue to pick up the trash in front of my building. Hopefully one day there will be more individuals who care about their neighborhood and love to keep it free from trash.
One day while picking up trash and a young man came over to me and asked if he can give me free bags he introduced himself and told me he was part of a non profit organization and shared what the organization offer. Like free trash bags and gloves or whatever you may need to keep your neighborhood trash free. It was a pleasure meeting Albert Arevalo just knowing there are others for the cause brings me joy.
As our campaign grows and gains momentum, we wish to ease the load of those other “Kitty Dawson’s” who take great pride in their community. I encourage you to make your own personal commitment to end litter. Some simple actions you can take include:
- Pick up litter when you see it.
- Talk to your friends, family, and others about why it is important not to litter. Find talking points here
- Host or join a community cleanup
- Post a poster in your community or use any of our other free toolkit items
Just as piece by piece, litter adds up and makes the places we go every day unsafe and unhealthy, so too can we build a healthy, trash-free Potomac Watershed with each individual action. Only by working together will we see a change, and only by working together can we make a difference.