By Missy Schrott | [email protected]
Several hundred pieces of Styrofoam have washed up along the Alexandria waterfront in recent months, according to Old Town resident Caleb Merendino.
Merendino, along with a group of friends and neighbors, does informal waterfront clean-ups at least once a month. He said the Styrofoam along the shoreline has been an issue for years, but it’s gotten especially alarming over the last several months.
Merendino contacted city council and the city’s Call Click Connect system by email to report the litter on Oct. 17.
“We have noticed a decent amount for sometime now, however the situation has now become … out of control and styrofoam is literally everywhere on the path from [Oronoco] Bay Park towards the parkway,” Merendino said in his email.
Merendino later clarified the most concentrated areas were along the waterfront between Tide Lock and Rivergate City parks.
Jack Browand, division chief of the Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities, responded to Merendino on Oct. 29, stating that the high level of debris was due to the Oct. 12 flooding, high tides and heavy rain.
“With regard to the large pieces of Styrofoam, we are confident that this debris did not come from within the City,” Browand said in the email. “It was likely a result of unsecured debris coming down river from points north that were dislodged with the high tidal activity from October 12. I have had a few conversations with individuals who may be aware of work upriver or other activities that may be the source of this debris. To date, no one is aware of such activities.”
Merendino commended the city’s efforts in addressing the issue and suggested that all residents contribute to the solution by picking up a few pieces of debris every time they walk along the waterfront.