Soggy tennis balls, cigar wrappers, styrofoam beverage coolers, and shoes were among the 71 bags of trash pulled from the Potomac at Oronoco Bay Park Saturday morning. Sixty-seven rowers, parents and other volunteers from the Alexandria Crew Boosters (ACB) gathered in Old Town on Saturday morning, to participate in the Annual Waterfront Clean Up Day. Volunteers picked up gloves and paired off to scour the waterfront, removing trash from the waters and the shores.
Held as part of the Ocean Conservancy’s 30th Annual International Coastal Clean Up Campaign and the Clean Virginia Waterways initiative, the cleanup was undertaken in conjunction with the City of Alexandria’s Department of Transportation and Environmental Services. Over one hundred people from the area participated in the effort on Saturday. Felipe Ip, Sarah DeGroot, and Wisdom Gbediame from the City of Alexandria’s Transportation and Environmental Division, helped coordinate the day’s event, supplying volunteers with rubber gloves, and extension tools to reach over rails and between the rocks.
Sara DeGroot, Senior Environmental Specialist with Alexandria Stormwater and Sanitary Infrastructure, commented, “The Oronoco Bay Park Clean Up helps clean the water in the City to protect our waterways and provide a safer and more enjoyable environment for the wild animals and humans that use them.”
Carter Weitekamp, a senior at TC Williams who rows with the Old Dominion Boat Club (ODBC) Select Fall Crew program, stated, “We just came in from our first race of the season, and we’re out here every day at practice. The trash along the shore can get pretty gross. It’s really cool that everyone is here this morning, taking care of the environment. When everyone helps a little, it makes a big difference.”
Students who participated earned community service hours for the work, and even get a Certificate of Participation, but according to T.C. Williams sophomore Cole Towers, that isn’t what it’s about, “The waterfront is–well, can be– really nice, and we’re lucky to have it. We can’t really feel good about it when there’s garbage collecting at the edge, right?”