How Much Have We Lost?

Monday, March 5, 2012

Trash Continues to Flow In Little Hunting Creek

Earlier this session, I cosponsored legislation that would put a $0.20 fee or tax on every disposable plastic bag.  One of my constituents recently sent me some information that reminded me why I've been thinking about this.

When I was a kid, I spent a lot of time in Paul Spring chasing minnows, crawfish, turtles and eels.  The last few times I've been down there, the creek is biologically dead.  Similarly, I've spent some time cleaning up other creeks in our area.  They aren't much better. 
The picture at the right was taken in Little Hunting Creek three months ago about two previous cleanups in the previous six months.  I wrote these articles after two different cleanups I participated in.


After viewing the volume of trash in our creeks first hand, I floated the idea of a plastic bag tax on my blog and posted a survey which received a mostly positive response.


At the same time, Supervisor Hyland organized a 75-person task force to come up with a 25-year vision for our area.  One recommendation was to "support state legislation to discourage the use of disposable shopping bags." 

Last year, I co-sponsored a plastic bag tax.  Congressman Moran introduced a national plastic bag tax proposal last year

On October 26, 2011, the Mount Vernon Citizens Council sponsored a resolution supporting a fee on disposable plastic bags

This year, Fairfax County adopted a plank in its legislative agenda "support legislation or other efforts which would encourage the use of reusable shopping bags consistent with the County's waste reduction goals and environmental stewardship efforts."   This I sponsored plastic bag tax legislation again.  A non-random reader poll in the Lorton Patch showed 59% support for the concept:


In January, 2012, Montgomery County, MD adopted a plastic bag tax.  The District of Columbia adopted one in January, 2010.  In the first month, it generated $150,000 for the cleanup of the Anacostia River.

The Friends of Little Hunting Creek recently sent a summary of their trash cleanup efforts focused on one location three times in the last twelve months where Little Hunting Creek passed through some apartments in Janna Lee.  The pictures are shocking and tragic and only underscore the need for action. 

The presentation is set forth below.  Please view it.  It only underscores the need for real action.  This is not a problem that can be solved with volunteers.
Friends of Little Hunting Creek Janna Lee Trash Cleanups

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