New initiative needs volunteers to clean up Oxon Cove’s “Trash Island”


OXON HILL, Md. (WDVM) — Just a mile walk away from Oxon Hill Farm, tucked away in the woods, is Oxon Cove — and in the middle of Oxon Cove, you will find “Trash Island.”

Shopping carts, chairs, and traffic cones are just among some of the debris found on the island. However, the trash found floating in the cove may soon be gone.

“We got permits from the National Park Service to partner with them on working with volunteers to help remove this trash island,” said Dean Naujoks, a riverkeeper with the Potomac Riverkeeper Network.

The island isn’t the only area that has garbage — the riverbanks are also lined with various types of plastics. Naujoks says that the cleanup effort will be all hands on deck.

“We need physically able-bodied people to help to remove this trash,” he said.

One of the challenges of this project is removing trash, such as shopping carts, that have been sunk into the sediment for years. It will require man-power to rip them from the ground and carry them out of the cove.

“If we don’t get it out of here, you’re going to start seeing a lot of this trash getting buried, like some of these tires,” said Naujoks.

Naujoks said that the trash no only affects the wildlife in the Potomac, but humans as well.

“This is the life blood of the region. It provides drinking water to 5 million people,” he said.

The Potomac River Network estimates that the clean-up will take at least a month, potentially longer, depending on the number of volunteers who help.

If you are interested in volunteering, you can sign up on the Potomac River Network’s Eventbrite page.

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