Local Petworth neighbor Carrie Johnson-Clark contacted me recently about “Clean to the Curb,” an initiative that encourages people to keep the area around their houses clean from litter and trash. Carrie asked if I’d write something to get the word out. I offered one better — I offered to publish an article that she wrote. And here it is. I’m happy to offer an article from a Petworth neighbor who cares about how we can all do our part, even a little bit, to help keep the community looking beautiful.
A few weeks ago as I was taking a walk with Zoey, my recently adopted Yorkie-mix dog, when I began noticing more and more the large amount of trash littering our beautiful streets and sidewalks.
Although I adopted my block through the “Clean & Green DC” initiative a few years ago, I never noticed the trash on my neighboring side streets. Thanks to my walks with Zoey, I now find myself walking through the neighborhood two or three times a day. What I find so surprising and disturbing is the amount of trash indiscriminately thrown on the sidewalk and streets — especially when there is a trash receptacle at the beginning or end of the block!
I find myself just picking up trash as I go, and now bring a bag with my on my walks just for the trash I find.
What really go my attention is a recent NBC 4 segment by Mark Segraves, advising dog owners to avoid the Anacostia and Potomac Rivers due to the pollution and raw sewage. Did you know that on average annually, 2 billion gallons of rainwater and sewage is dumped into our waterways? Although DC is working to address the problem, we can too. The trash in the rivers is the very same trash that I see on our streets and sidewalk — it ends up in the DC drainage pipes. We can help stop that.
I have been thinking about writing this article for a few weeks. I finally decided that maybe by sharing this message, neighbors would join me in doing our small part to collectively make a big difference and keep our communities clean.
I want to encourage neighbors to participate in the DC Adopt-A-Block program and try to keep your block clean from litter. If you can’t or don’t want to, then at least consider “Cleaning to the Curb” once a week. All that requires you to do is to clean in front and back of your home once a week. Even that little bit can add up to cleaner streets, and cleaner rivers.
I am confident with the many families in Petworth we can make a difference in helping to reduce the amount of trash that flows into our waterways while at the same time, keep our community beautiful.
Carrie Johnson-Clark is a retired military veteran and works in downtown DC. She lives in North Petworth with her husband, their four cats and new Yorkie Terrier-mix (and walking companion), Zoey.
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