The District of Columbia Council has unanimously approved a bill that will help clean up the Anacostia River by placing a fee on disposable bags.
The Anacostia River Cleanup and Protection Act of 2009 will charge a 5-cent fee on disposable paper and plastic carryout bags at grocery stores, restaurants, convenience stores, food vendors and other shops in the city. Most of the money collected will go towards a newly created Anacostia River Cleanup Fund, which will target environmental cleanup, reclamation and restoration efforts on the Anacostia River.
“This landmark law brings the District of Columbia to the forefront of addressing pollution caused by disposable bags and takes much-needed action to clean the Anacostia River,” said D.C. Councilman Tommy Wells, sponsor of the bill and chair of the Bay Program’s Local Government Advisory Committee.
According to a recent report by the D.C. Department of the Environment, plastic bags, bottles, wrappers and Styrofoam make up 85 percent of the trash in the Anacostia River, a tributary of the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay. In the river’s tributaries, such as Watts Branch, nearly 50 percent of the trash is plastic bags.
The report stated that placing a small fee on disposable bags could eliminate up to 21 percent of the trash in the Anacostia and 47 percent of the trash in its tributaries.
The legislation also creates a new Anacostia River vehicle license plate and an income tax donation option. Proceeds from both will go to the Anacostia River Cleanup Fund.
For more information about the Anacostia River Cleanup and Protection Act of 2009 and the Anacostia River Cleanup Fund, visit trashfreeanacostia.com.
What You Can Do: Reduce the Amount of Plastic Bags You Use and Reduce Plastic Trash in the Anacostia River, the Chesapeake Bay and Your Local Waterways
Learn about more ways you can help the Bay.