There’s literally too much litter in Mount Vernon, say leaders of the Mount Vernon Council of Citizen Associations, and the county should adopt the Citizens’ Action Plan for Litter Prevention.
At the initiative of the Council’s Environment and Recreation Committee, chaired by Elizabeth (Betsy) Martin, MVCCA is advocating a comprehensive strategy to combat litter and is asking the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors to act.
The key components of the anti-litter plan are these:
- implement recycling in the public schools and encourage environmental stewardship among students;
- require all business to recycle cans, bottles, paper and cardboard;
- adopt a litter control ordinance;
- conduct anti-litter public information campaigns;
- stiffen enforcement of anti-littering laws;
- require litter receptacles in all public places;
- require recycling at all county events, including requiring users of parks and school properties to remove all trash.
In addition, MVCCA asks that the Board of Supervisors include in its 2013
legislative requests to the Virginia General Assembly additional measures:
- a ban on polystyrene and require biodegradable packing for carry-out food;
- a beverage container deposit law;
- a fee on single-use plastic and paper shopping bags or authorize localities to impose one;
- an increase in the litter tax (which has been $25 since 1987) and use the proceeds to fund litter prevention, cleanups and outreach.
MVCCA passed a resolution in October 2011, maintaining that litter degrades property values, the environment and “creates the impression that Mount Vernon residents care neither about the environment nor their community.” Volunteers who have for years helped with cleanups “would like to make cleanups unnecessary,” MVCCA representatives argue.
The resolution cites a survey by the Alice Ferguson Foundation of households in the Potomac River watershed which found that almost two-thirds of respondents are bothered “a lot” by litter and believe that the litter problem is “big enough that [they] would like to see the state and local government commit more resources to doing something about it.”
Martin organizes trash cleanups in Little Hunting Creek every spring and hauls out thousands of plastic bottles, fast food debris, grocery carts, balls, shoes and endless odds and ends.
MVCCA is pushing the Board of Supervisors and state legislators to act.