By Bradley Kennedy
Nash Run is one of the dirtiest streams in the Anacostia River watershed. However, thanks to D.C’s 5-cent disposable bag fee, one major source of pollution is finally on the decline.
“Astronomical levels of trash” and “dirtiest of all streams” -- these are phrases used to describe the humble little Nash Run, a small tributary of the Anacostia River. Nash Run starts in Fairmount Heights, MD, and runs through the Deanwood neighborhood of DC before emptying into the Anacostia near the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens. It is one of the biggest contributors of the litter pollution impairing the Anacostia River. But a study on this stream over the past 4 years offers hope that the litter problem can be reversed.
The Anacostia River is so severely impacted by trash that in 2007 it was declared impaired by trash under the provisions of the Clean Water Act. Only the second river in the country to be so designated, and the first multi-jurisdictional river (Maryland and DC), in 2010 a trash TMDL, or pollution diet, was issued that requires Anacostia jurisdictions to reduce the amount of trash entering the river.
At the end of 2008 AWS released a scientific study of trash in the Anacostia River. One of the key findings of this study was that 33% of the trash in the tidal river was plastic bags, while nearly 50% of the trash in tributary streams was plastic bags.
It was only a matter of time before industry flexed its financial muscle to defend their polluting plastic bags. Yesterday bag bill opponents swamped the Maryland House of Delegates with computerized "patch through" calls that connect constituents directly to their legislators. This is likely funded by industry so who knows what they are telling constituents before they connect them with legislators. Last year the American Chemistry Council (plastics lobbying group) and manufacturer Hilex spent an estimated $2 Million to defeat the California bag bill. Now someone is waving money around Maryland to defeat a public policy that we have seen work well in DC.
They should be catching fish, not plastic bags!
Last week we had excellent hearings on the Maryland bag bill in both chambers of the Maryland General Assembly.
Trash Free Maryland alliance members and other proponents had a wealth of information on our side:
Stay informed of the latest watershed issues by subscribing to our free email updates & event announcements.