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Monday, April 17, 2017

New environmental group focuses on ridding streams of plastic water bottles

Trash in Accotink Creek. [TAWF]
A new organization, the Northern Virginia Trash Action Work Force, invites the public to a peaceful demonstration to highlight the environmental damage caused by disposable plastic water bottles.

The event, the group’s first civic action, will be May 8, 7-10 a.m., in front of the headquarters of the International Bottled Water Association, at 1700 Diagonal Road, Alexandria. (It’s near the King Street Metro station.)

The Trash Action Work Force hopes the event will draw attention to the significant amount of disposable plastic water bottles that end up in the streams, parks, and streets of Northern Virginia and the Chesapeake Bay watershed. According to the Clean Fairfax Council, cleaning up litter costs Virginia taxpayers $5 million annually.

Members of the work force have been leading stream cleanups for many years. “Despite hundreds of volunteers removing thousands of bags of trash from local waterways, the trash just keeps coming back, with disposable water bottles comprising a significant portion,” the group reports. “Trash tossed from car windows or dropped in parking lots, roads, lawns, and parks is eventually washed down storm drains into local streams and ends up in the Potomac River, the Chesapeake Bay, and eventually, the Atlantic Ocean.”

The plastic never totally breaks down, killing marine wildlife who try to eat pieces of plastic in the ocean. Litter depresses home values and destroys the scenery in national parks.

The Trash Action Work Force is a coalition of citizens and organizations dedicated to reducing trash in waterways. Organizations include the Friends of Little Hunting Creek, the Friends of Accotink Creek, the Friends of Dyke Marsh, the Friends of Huntley Meadows, the Friends of Lake Accotink Park, and the Great Falls Chapter of the Sierra Club.

The International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) is dedicated to promoting the interests of water bottlers through lobbying, advertising, and public affairs campaigns.

While the Trash Action Work Force commends the IBWA’s support of recycling, it disagrees with the association’s opposition to bottle deposit laws and its support for overturning the ban on bottled water sales in national parks.

The work force also urges IBWA – which endorsed the Environmental Protection Agency’s research on water quality – to lobby against efforts to slash funding for the EPA.

The Trash Action Work Force is looking for partners and allies “to join us in standing up for the environment. We encourage citizens, civic organizations, and industrial groups to expand and act on their vision of responsibility for the Earth, our home.”

For more information, contact Betsy Martin,, 703-360-0691.


  1. The water bottles should be banned.

  2. Maybe a better approach would be to explore why people drop the litter in the first place, and what it says about America.

    It's time to ask "Who are the litterbugs?" and "Why are they dropping litter left and right?" Could it be that we have more people who don't own homes and their last "castle" is their car, and heaven forbid ANY piece of trash remains in that castle?

    Could it be that we have allowed a large number of people into Virginia who come from countries where trash piles up everywhere, and so they assume that must be our standard as well? Maybe, maybe not.

    Maybe we've just failed as a nation and simply don't care any more.

    The protest seems like a good idea, but it really just tackles one side of the problem. You take away the supply from the litterbug. But you also have to look at the demand side too. Litterbugs need their sugary drinks, Red Bull, and artesian water, thank you very much!