Pulling Shopping Carts, Trash Out of Little Hunting Creek

Pulling Shopping Carts, Trash Out of Little Hunting Creek

This past weekend, state Sen. Scott Surovell (D36) and Del. Paul Krizek (D-44) hosted an annual Little Hunting Creek Cleanup near U.S. 1 in Lee District.

Dubbed “Fairfax County’s Trashiest Stream” in 2007 by Fairfax County government, the stream runs through the Lee District area of Fairfax County in the U.S. 1 Corridor before it crosses U.S. 1 and passes George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate on its way to the Potomac River.

In coordination with the Friends of Little Hunting Creek, Surovell and Krizek hosted three cleanup sites in the Hybla Valley area at Janna Lee Avenue Bridge, Audubon Mobile Home Park and at the Mount Vernon Shopping Plaza behind the Shoppers Food Warehouse.

More than 35 volunteers turned out to collect more than 3,000 pounds of trash in 100 bags. More than 15,000 pounds of trash have been collected since cleanup of this area started eight years ago.

Volunteers collected primarily plastic beverage containers, discarded food containers, and plastic bags. Other items included:

  • Four shopping carts
  • 10 bicycles and one tricycle
  • Three tires
  • Two children’s vehicles
  • One snow shovel
  • One katana (sword)
  • One baby stroller
  • A baby pool
  • One flatscreen television
  • Three computer monitors
  • One guard rail
  • A grill.

Volunteers included students from West Potomac and Mt. Vernon High Schools and Carl Sandburg Middle School. Volunteers also came from Arlington and Prince William counties.

With the annual assistance of Robert O’Hanlon’s Tree Service, cleanup volunteers were also able to extract four grocery carts, bringing the overall total to 220 shopping carts pulled from the creek bed in the past eight years.

"The shopping carts are especially disappointing given that I have repeatedly brought this issue to retailer’s attention and Wal-Mart went through the effort of installing a cart control system. Unfortunately, the recovered carts were not equipped to function with their control system,” Surovell said. “One of the carts was outfitted with Aldi’s theft deterrent system which clearly did not work. I also warned Costco about this problem before they built their store and asked them to install an electronic cart control system after Fairfax County refused to mandate it through a proffer and they refused, insisting that they had different customers than Wal-Mart. This makes nearly 10 Costco carts we have removed since they opened."

“I am grateful for the many volunteers that gave up their Saturday to help clean up their community,” Surovell said. “Little Hunting Creek is still full of trash, but if we can remove a ton of trash one weekend, that’s a ton of trash that does not make it to the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay. U.S. 1’s retailers continue to show a lack of interest in controlling shopping cart removal, minimizing plastic bag consumption, or disposable containers in the corridor. We are also continuing to raise awareness about the Lee District trash and litter problem in Hybla Valley. If we continue to push this message, I hope we eventually see a reduction in plastic bottle, bag and overall waste in our streams.”