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Bag Tax Keeping Anacostia River Cleaner

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Volunteers in the Anacostia River cleanup effort say the tax has helped keep plastic bags out of the river.
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Volunteers in the Anacostia River cleanup effort say the tax has helped keep plastic bags out of the river.

By Matt Laslo

Volunteers say the District's five cent bag tax is reducing the amount of plastic bags ending up in the Anacostia River. For 25 years, organizers have brought groups out to clean up the Anacostia River.

Lynn Labieniec, who has been volunteering for the cleanup over the past few years, says there's been a noticeable difference in the waste since the District started taxing bags.

"Far fewer plastic bags this year - far fewer. Fewer plastic bags, fewer of those six pack rings. It's all plastic bottles and Styrofoam," Labieniec said.

Informal surveys show shoppers in the District are using about sixty percent less plastic bags. The city hoped to bring in $3.6 million from the tax, but with the decline in usage its now expected to raise much less revenue.

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