|Most of these girls are students at Poe Middle School.|
They collected 352 bags of trash – beer bottles, coffee cups, diapers, fast food wrappers, and much more – and many large items, such as couches, construction debris, discarded Christmas trees, and car parts along the wooded area between Americana Drive and the beltway sound wall.
|Volunteers find plenty of trash along Americana Drive.|
The event was organized by Amy Gould, a resident of Lafayette Forest Condominium and a member of the Fairfax County Restoration Project, with lots of help from Friends of Accotink Creek. The Annandale Rotary Club donated $100 for snacks for the volunteers.
VDOT provided trash bags and hauled the trash away, and Fairfax County police officers patrolled Americana Drive to ensure volunteers’ safety.
The volunteers included residents of the condominium and apartment complexes lining Americana, members of environmental groups, students, Scouts, and people who heard about the cleanup event online.
|Tommy Tran (left), a student at Poe Middle School, and Garion Neuse, a 10th-grader at Oakton High School and a member of Boy Scout Troop 1978.|
Among the items collected by Tommy Tran, an eighth-grader at Poe Middle School who earned community service hours for volunteering, was a $20 bill and, ironically, a flyer seeking volunteers for the cleanup event.
Another Poe student found a drug needle along with a large number of beer bottles and other trash. Among the other finds were a wallet with an ID card inside and a box of bullets, both of which were turned over to the police.
|Rick Pratt (left) a resident of Brook Hills and an Annandale High School alum, and Gilbert Alvarado, of the Vistas of Annandale, fill up a pickup truch with trash.|
“Being out here really makes you believe in the need for a bottle deposit law and a plastic bag tax,” said Bruce Atkinson, a member of Friends of Lake Accotink.
Joyce Briley, 76, a resident of Tall Trees South, took part in the cleanup despite having an artificial hip. She said she had contacted county officials about the trash on Americana Drive but never heard back.
For years, construction contractors have used the wooded area in the Annandale Drive easement as a dumping ground for leftover wood and other materials, while residents regularly dropped off broken furniture.
|A cleanup crew from the Vistas of Annandale.|
The huge amount of trash along Americana “is really dragging down the community,” said Gould. Also, the many commercial trucks with two wheels parked on the easement are disturbing the soil, adding to the sediment in Accotink Creek, which “taxpayers are spending money on to restore,” she said. One solution would be to restrict parking to the other side of the street.
“We want residents to have pride in where they live,” said Dawn Miller, the vice president of marketing for the Vistas of Annandale, who brought about 15 Vistas residents. She hopes the cleanup event will give people an incentive to keep the area free of litter.
The Vistas will host more cleanups, Miller said, “so it doesn’t get to this point again.”