Since December 2021, Washington Gas and community partner Anacostia Riverkeeper have sponsored community trash cleanups every quarter along the Anacostia River in parks and communities in Southeast and Northeast Washington, D.C. High school students from local schools and several community organizations have collaborated with Washington Gas in this exemplary initiative.
In the December kick-off event, Washington Gas sponsored a student-focused community cleanup in Ward 8 alongside community partner Anacostia Riverkeeper. During the event, students from local secondary schools in the city picked up 153 pounds of trash, including 86 pounds of plastic bottles.[i] The students’ work kept trash from entering the Anacostia River and the Chesapeake Bay bordering Maryland and Virginia, which flows into the Atlantic Ocean. “The plastic bottles the students bagged could have become microplastics that could harm fish and other animals that consume them,” said Trey Sherard with Anacostia Riverkeeper.[ii]
In January 2022, the Washington Gas Community Engagement team sponsored the 2022 Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service alongside community partner Anacostia Riverkeeper and neighborhood host Pope Branch Park Restoration Alliance. It was a highly successful event. According to the Anacostia Riverkeeper, 170 volunteers collected, sorted, weighed and recorded 344 pounds of plastic bottles and 1,167 pounds of glass bottles, amongst a total of 3,484 pounds of litter. The students and other volunteers also pulled 1,892 pounds of bulk trash, and 293 illegally dumped car and truck tires weighing 5,902 pounds. Volunteers spent 510 community service hours on their hard work, totaling 11,333 pounds of trash. Alongside Anacostia Riverkeeper, Washington Gas volunteers have collected 5.75 tons of trash in Wards 7 and 8 in less than a year and plans are to continue organizing and sponsoring additional community clean ups every quarter.
We appreciate the volunteers from the following community groups who helped in trash cleanups throughout the year:
- Pope Branch Park Restoration Alliance
- DC Sierra Club - Zero Waste and Clean Water committees
- DC Department of Energy and Environment
- DC Surfrider
- Maryland Conservation Corps
- FEMA Corps
- Teass \ Warren architects
- George Washington University environmental policy students
We are also grateful to the schools and students from the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) and District of Columbia Public Charter Schools (DCPCS) involved in the events:
- Capital City Public Charter School (Ward 4)
- KIPP DC College Preparatory Public Charter School (Ward 5)
- Washington Academy Leadership Public Charter School (Ward 5)
- Benjamin Banneker Academic HS (DCPS) (Ward 6)
- BASIS DC (Ward 2)
- McKinley Technology HS (Ward 5)
[i] Statistics in the article are courtesy of Anacostia Riverkeeper
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