Make a Difference
Litter is easily blown by wind and washed down storm drains into our waterways. Here are some things you can do to help make a difference in your community.
Cleaning Up Our Waterways
Litter is a serious problem in the Potomac River Watershed, and its major tributaries. Litter travels from our streets into storm drains and waterways until it reaches the Potomac.
While there is currently limited research or regional data that tracks the sources of regional trash, we speculate that the majority of this trash originates as refuse improperly or intentionally disposed of along roadsides and in public and private open spaces.
Here’s What You Can Do:
Litter is easily blown by wind and washed down storm drains into our waterways. Through our Adopt-A-Stream program volunteers will monitor their adopted stream and organize a community cleanup twice (or more!) a year to help us keep track of the litter in our watershed. The data collected by volunteers will be shared with local jurisdictions and will help support proven source reduction policies (bag fees, foam bans, etc.)
Action Against Litter & Waste
Recognizing the importance of public education and awareness in creating behavior change, the Alice Ferguson Foundation works to engage community members to change littering behaviors. Through our programs, you can get free yard signs, learn about the impact of different interventions, and discover how you can become a change-maker in your community.
Join the Cleanup!
Help support clean land, safe water, and healthy lives by hosting or joining a trash cleanup event in your area. Our flagship cleanup event happens each year in April, though additional cleanup events are hosted year-round. Click below to view a map of upcoming cleanup events and volunteer opportunities.
Support Green Policies
New legislation for source reduction, effective implementation of current policies, and sufficient funding for waste management programs are all a part of creating lasting change at the local, state, and federal levels. One of the keys for effective advocacy is to have strong regional partnerships, which is why we have developed a policy working group to develop recommendations and collaborate on potential advocacy activities.
- 2011 – Montgomery county, MD passes legislation enabling a five-cent fee on plastic and paper bags.
- 2010 – Policy Working Group recommends five policies to focus on for litter reduction.
- 2009 – Policy working group established.
- 2009 – Anacostia Cleanup and Protection act passes which requires a five cent fee to be charged for disposable paper and plastic bags.
Visible Trash Survey
Join the “Trash Team” at the Alice Ferguson Foundation as a Visible Trash Survey Volunteer Monitor. Together, we can generate momentum for change towards a Trash Free Potomac.
Why is Trash a Problem?
- Trash that ends up on the ground often times finds its way into the Potomac River or one of its tributaries such as the Anacostia or Shenandoah Rivers.
- Trash can clog public sewer systems and become entangled in creeks, creating a ‘damming effect’ which traps debris, wildlife, and prevents water flow.
- Trash doesn’t look great and makes it harder to enjoy our neighborhoods, rivers and parks.
- Trash can leak or leach toxics chemicals into the water and soil.
- Trash can interfere with aquatic plants and can be hazardous to wildlife.
- Trash can costs regional jurisdictions millions of dollars each year to clean up.