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Del. Surovell Leads Little Hunting Creek Cleanup—Part 2

Volunteers pulled one ton of trash from creek Saturday.

Volunteers pulled 25 shopping carts out of Upper Little Hunting Creek Saturday at a second cleanup sponsored by Del. Scott Surovell (D-44th).

Surovell along with 26 volunteers cleaned up trash in the northern branch of Little Hunting Creek near the Sequoyah Condominiums and Janna Lee Avenue. Volunteers included 10 students from Waynewood, Stratford Landing, and Mount Vernon Woods elementary schools, two officers of the Sequoyah Condominium Owners’ Association and community members.

Saturday’s cleanup netted one ton of trash, including 30 sports balls, 40 bags of trash, five tires and the 25 shopping carts. Additionally, volunteers collected thousands of cans and bottles.

“The trash in Little Hunting Creek is a billboard for corporate America,” said Surovell in a release. “You’d think the creek is sponsored by Pepsi, Coke, Deer Park, 7‐11, and Walmart. Taking responsibility for your products also includes ensuring that your products do not end up as pollution. This creek has become a retail trash dump.”

After the removal of the larger pieces of trash, the creek was still polluted with a mix of medicine bottles, small drink bottles, lighters and granulated polystyrene from to‐go food containers and disposable beverage coolers.

“It was amazing that we saw anything alive in this creek,” said Surovell. “There were no insects, crawfish, minnows, turtles, or anything living between Huntley Meadows Park and the Janna Lee Bridge.”

Surovell sponsored an earlier cleanup of North Little Hunting Creek earlier this spring; and another ton of trash.

Eleni Silverman May 30, 2012 at 03:50 PM
It seems that some method of disabling the shopping carts if they are taken outside of the store parking lots would be a great idea. I know some stores have a mechanism of disabling carts if shoppers try to take them from the store (cart brakes slam on), so the technology does exist.
T Ailshire May 30, 2012 at 08:20 PM
Has anyone approached WalMart about providing community-service hours for its employees to help? I'm presuming most of these carts come from WalMart, though I may be mistaken. It would be good PR for them.
Wildermann June 01, 2012 at 01:58 PM
The Aldi Supermarket on Richmond Highway has an inexpensive mechanism that locks the shopping carts together at the store entrance. Customers wanting a cart must insert a quarter into the device and a cart is released. When the shopping cart is returned and put back in place, the customer retrieves their quarter. Even if a customer is too lazy or not concerned about getting their quarter back, I've observed kids taking the carts back because they know there is a quarter waiting for them. A low tech solution that works and if utilized by more businesses would put a major dent on this problem. Check it out. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LEoUvx5_ZAg
Scott B June 01, 2012 at 04:36 PM
Who votes for this moron Surovell??? I am glad he is helping clean it up and commend that --- but his statement below must be a joke from the onion right? --- How does he think that these large companies are responsible IN ANY WAY and can stop some poor, lazy, derelicts from tossing their trash on the ground or in a river? What a joke! “The trash in Little Hunting Creek is a billboard for corporate America,” said Surovell in a release. “You’d think the creek is sponsored by Pepsi, Coke, Deer Park, 7‐11, and Walmart. Taking responsibility for your products also includes ensuring that your products do not end up as pollution. This creek has become a retail trash dump.”
T Ailshire June 01, 2012 at 04:56 PM
I commend him for this effort, though I don't vote for him. The words help ensure Democrat big bucks come reelection time.
Wildermann June 02, 2012 at 12:46 AM
Isn't it about time we acknowledge that the price of excessive commercialism is excessive anti-social behavior? Litter in our watersheds signify the decline of civility and the ascension of the in-your-face school of corporate marketing and personal individual behavior. Litterers do what they do because they have been brought up in a society in which obligations to others take a back seat to infantile self-indulgence. Like the commercialization of everything they see around them, they have no conception of self-restraint. They are imitating, on an individual scale, the proliferating commercialization we have permitted to transform public space from a non-exploitative common ground into a commercial hunting ground. This is a good man that has the courage to criticize Fairfax County for shortchanging Richmond Highway and the constituents he was elected to serve and then take the heat from other Democratic party elected officials for doing so. He has principles which are in short supply among the political class. Calling people names with whom you disagree ultimately denigrates you. Show some class and argue your position with provable points and without implying that poor people are lazy and derelict. Poor people participate in these clean-ups as well but I don't recall meeting any "conservative" folks at either cleanup event this spring.
Scott B June 02, 2012 at 12:50 AM
Thats all well and good for the political cash grab propaganda merit sure --- ....but can anyone honestly from either or no party ACTUALLY tell me how he or you think anyone can do that? I would love to hear an actual rational answer --- b/c there is none.
Wildermann June 02, 2012 at 12:55 AM
Do what? make your question clear.
Scott B June 02, 2012 at 12:59 AM
The points are very clear and above, even hopefully for you! How and why do you think, Coke, Pepsi, 7-11 or any other company that sells a product people want such as coffee -- that my gosh come in a cup...is in ANY WAY responsible for some as you admit self indulgent person throwing his coffee cup in the creek, or coke can polluting the creek???? Scott S can say anything he wants --- BUT it as you readily admit is the individual who pollutes who is responsible, and that I agree is lost often on people who have no sense of personal responsibility and want to blame others that have no role or responsibility such as Coke, for an individual littering. Again cleaning up is commendable and needed. But blaming some 'business' for peoples poor actions like littering their coffee cup as if Coke or Pepsi, or Starbucks can be penalized, or for that matter should....not only makes no sense, but is simply laughable on its liberal face.
Wildermann June 02, 2012 at 01:38 AM
In the case of Coke, Pepsi, 7-11 or any company that sells a product, the objective is to establish product identity; in the case of litterers, it is to establish personal identity. To achieve both objectives, it is necessary that the public be intimidated by displays of arrogance and power. Advertisements have leaped off the TV screen and turned our communities into larger-than-life commercials. Sales pitches target us from the sides of buses and transit shelters. Commercial messages scream out at us in stadiums and arenas; confront us on supermarket carts; "educate" our children in class; invade our privacy in restrooms. Billboards commercialize our streets and highways. The proliferation of litter and graffiti increases exponentially in a society willing to tolerate, if not encourage, advertisers intent on commercializing all public space. Commercialism is legally permitted graffiti. The distinction of legality becomes meaningless as all such graphic demonstrations commit the truly indefensible act of assaulting our collective public space and our individual psychic space. To maintain sanity, the public anesthetizes itself. We participate in and comply with the defacement of public space and the negation of our right to privacy by our willingness to desensitize ourselves to these assaults upon our sensibilities. We become oblivious to our immediate environment, or functionally unconscious. In return, litter gets deeper, billboards & graffiti becomes more outrageous.
Scott Surovell June 02, 2012 at 12:53 PM
Eleni: I've spoken to Walmart. They use that technology at their King's Crossing store, but don't intend to install it in Hybla Valley because of the cost. That's what they've told me. They are going to continue hiring contractors to pick up the carts from their neighborhoods and theoretically from the creek.
Scott Surovell June 02, 2012 at 12:53 PM
Yes, I did. Walmart told me they'd like to get employees out, but they couldn't do it on Memorial Day Weekend.
Scott Surovell June 02, 2012 at 12:56 PM
Scott About 8700 people voted for me last time and about 10,000 people in the election before that. Bottle deposit laws and a small bag tax could help this situation but they are blocked in the legislature by the retailers. Also, you never know - some of the people putting trash in might also be rich or middle class lazy derelicts. I don't think everyone who litters is poor.
T Ailshire June 02, 2012 at 03:24 PM
Scott, the problem with a tax is - like so many other laws - it penalizes the honest majority instead of the injudicious, profligate minority.
Wildermann June 02, 2012 at 04:47 PM
User fees are easy to avoid. Bring a reusable bag to the store. Returning bottles to claim the deposit is like returning the shopping cart at the Aldi supermarket. A minor inconvenience at best for doing a great deal of good. I've spent long vacations in New York State as well as in Oregon. Both have bottle deposit laws. These laws have had a significant impact on the amount of trash encountered when fishing, rafting or kayaking their waterways. Seeing the occasional piece of litter on their waterways has pales in comparison to what is seen on waterways in Virginia. Our waterways in Virginia are a disgrace and the pathetic miscreants littering public and private property cannot be dealt with because, locally and at the state level, politicians continue to define such acts as a mere nuisance. The inaction of those politicians to deal with meaningful and proven ways to diminish litter help ensure lobbyist big bucks come reelection time.
Scott Surovell June 02, 2012 at 10:01 PM
Thanks Tess. The beauty of a bag tax/fee is that if you don't wanna pay if you just bring a bag. In places where it's been implemented, it's cut bag consumption by 80% - and thus cost most people $0. We often have to design laws to take care of the lowest common denominator. If we didn't everyone would free ride on the system. The question is what to intervene in and what not to intervene in. If the state would at least given the county the authority to adopt is so the county could focus fees where need - e.g. in U.S. 1 retail zones - then they could target the policy where it's needed. Every exposed root in the creek bank has multiple plastic bags hanging off it. Doing nothing or having volunteers spend their weekends cleaning up isn't acceptable to me.
T Ailshire June 02, 2012 at 10:43 PM
Yep, inconvenience the honest person. Sure, bring a bag. Have you ever tried to use a self-serve checkstand with your own bags? Inconvenience. The right size bag for what you're buying? Inconvenience. Sure it will work - and if you want to live in a lowest common denominator world, it's the easy solution.
Wildermann June 03, 2012 at 04:36 AM
"The whole history of the progress of human liberty shows that all concessions yet made to her august claims have been born of earnest struggle. If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters." The Political Writings of John Dickinson, Esquire Vol. I (1801), Letter XI So a little struggle with your own bags won't harm you. Laws were and are often required to achieve what a sense of higher purpose could not. As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. explained after President Dwight Eisenhower denounced proposed civil rights legislation as an attempt to “legislate morality”: “A law may not make a man like me, but it can stop him from lynching me.” It has always been easier for evildoers to lower others to their depths than it is for those who do good to elevate others to their heights.
Scott B June 03, 2012 at 02:25 PM
At least we now know what the Politician Scott meant by his initial comment in the article. And as usual it is tax people some more, so they can spend more of our money. Good luck with that.......An Martin your comments are so odd and long, they don't even seem to make any sense to the actual topic at hand.
Scott Surovell June 03, 2012 at 02:27 PM
Scott - I've been on the record for a plastic bag tax for 3 sessions now. Most jurisdictions that have enacted them (like DC, Montgomery County & P.G. County) dedicate the proceeds to water quality improvement as opposed to just dumping the money into a General Fund.
Wildermann June 03, 2012 at 04:12 PM
It's not like anything I would say would change your mind...if someone thinks you're a snake, and you tell him you're not, he just thinks you're a talking snake. Relying on conservative cliches about taxes and calling someone expressing a point of view different from your own a moron is a feeble attempt to steal terrain unearned by argument. And all I want is an argument.
Native Virginian June 03, 2012 at 08:05 PM
Scott B, Have you come up with any solutions to the trash problem. Instead of bashing everyone else and their suggestions why don't you propose a solution. Who cares if you vote for Scott or what party you affiliate yourself with, The fact that he got out from behind the keyboard and cleaned it up says volumes. Charge for the bags. Get deposits on bottles. Tax manufacturers for the junk that's not biodegradable. The deposit on the carts sounds like a great idea too...perhaps people might even pull them out of the creek to return them. I'm disappointed in Walmart's response, but not surprised. Thanks sent to Scott and the crew for spending their time and effort on the clean up.
Scott B June 04, 2012 at 06:54 PM
We do not need higher taxes...But back to my initial point that again no one has addressed. The quote by Politician Scott that no one has actually addressed --- added below again -- sounds as if companies should have punitive financial action taken against THEM. Not a bag tax. Not a deposit tax. Maybe it was said for affect to gain favor with environmental donors or it is as it sounded. “The trash in Little Hunting Creek is a billboard for corporate America,” said Surovell in a release. “You’d think the creek is sponsored by Pepsi, Coke, Deer Park, 7‐11, and Walmart. Taking responsibility for your products also includes ensuring that your products do not end up as pollution. This creek has become a retail trash dump.” Native Virginian supports further hampering manufacturing in the US by taxing them for selling bottles for coke, beer or other items we use. I do not think that is a good idea either......A system like Aldi's for carts is low cost and in the long run probably saves them money over paying people to retrieve carts. If you have never been to an Aldi go see their simple cart system, and the great deals in side. And adding a deposit to glass bottles, that is then returned to the person who returns it is a great idea too. An low $ educational campaign around the area where large #'s of people loiter could also be usefull.
Scott B June 04, 2012 at 06:58 PM
I have said twice it is great he and other took a day to clean. That is something to be proud of. But alot of people get out in our community and do great things in many many ways. We just don't have a crew take pictures and write articles about it.
Native Virginian June 04, 2012 at 11:14 PM
Scott B, Thanks for following up. If I could share with you what the posted pictures did for me. Last year when I saw the pictures from Scott's clean up I was aghast. Upon further inquiry it was revealed that here were homeless camps back in that area. What shocked me the most was the number of homeless people we have on this part of Rt. 1. I inquired as to how I could help and with some great exchanges online and a few phone calls, I began volunteering for ROCK (Route One Community Kitchen). Let me clarify...I don't support taxing anyone for selling bottles, as I said, I support a deposit. I would support a tax on companies that manufacturer Styrofoam or whatever a disposable cooler is made of? If it's going to be "disposable" it needs to be biodegradable. Even if that junk doesn't end up in the creek, it's gonna end up in the landfill. Whatdawanna bet those disposable coolers aren't manufactured in the US.
Wildermann June 04, 2012 at 11:30 PM
Well OK now, so who provides and pays for the educational campaign for where large #'s of people gather? As stated previously, more than a few states have beverage container deposit laws and plastic bag user fees. The same companies that operate there are the same ones operating in VA. They have not stopped doing business in the states with the laws. They still make profits. Do you honestly think they will stop doing business in VA if legislation passes that requires beverage container deposits or payment of 5 cents for a plastic bag? There is a noticeable difference in the waterways of these states with laws as compared to states without this legislation. It works and makes a difference. I've visited abroad many times. Last summer for nearly a month in Sweden. They have some of the toughest environmental regulations in the world and some of the highest taxes. The Swedes are very business friendly and businesses know they can't skirt around environmental laws and must pay a fair share in taxes. Their GDP was significantly higher than ours last year and they are not in a recession. Prices for goods and services are high but everyone earns a living wage and doesn't spend an arm and a leg for health care, child care or education. It evens out and if you don't want the state services you can still pay for private services.Businesses there operate the same as business here. They earn profits. My relation there, a retired CEO uses state services and could easily afford the private.
Wildermann June 04, 2012 at 11:35 PM
There are no crews taking pictures, just participants using their cell phones or their own cameras. It takes a few minutes to write a couple of paragraphs and upload a few pictures to get the word out regarding good deeds. This site is a great platform to spotlight good deeds and opinion in this community. You have to make your own sunshine in this world and sell yourself or your cause. No one else will do it for you.
Jacqueline Bilowus June 12, 2012 at 07:49 PM
I'm a little concerned that Walmart doesn't intend to install the cart locking technology or coin based locking system. What can we do to put pressure on them for this? That is a lot of carts they are losing to the creek.

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