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Base I&E personnel takes ‘Earth Day’ cleanup to another level

By Verda L. Parker | Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany | June 20, 2017


Protecting the planet is more than a one-day per year event to one group of workers, at Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany’s Installation and Environmental Division; it’s the ongoing mission of personnel in the Environmental Branch.


Every day is “Earth Day” and keeping the environment clean is not isolated to the annual observance for I&E personnel, who conducts weekly assessments of otherwise neglected areas in continuation of the team’s cleanup efforts.


Brian Wallace, head, Environmental Branch, MCLB Albany, explained the motivation for continuing the annual Earth Day cleanup efforts on the installation.


“After our annual Earth Day cleanup on April 20, I noticed there were many areas around the base that were still in need of (debris removal) from the January tornado,” Wallace said.  “That's when we, Base Environmental, decided to continue cleaning up, one day a week, until these areas were completed. 


“To-date, we have cleaned up along Perimeter Road from the truck gate all the way to Indian Lake,” he pointed out. “(Other areas we’ve cleaned  include) the field next to Building 1121; around the Fire Department; Rankin Street; along the west end of the warehouses; Covella Pond; the areas around Buildings 1620, 1625, 1631; the new weapons storage facility and today, the 1550 storage lot.” 


Joseph Elam, environmental engineer, Public Works Branch, MCLB Albany, discussed his role and the importance of the project.


“We’re cleaning up areas of the base that tenants aren’t tasked to clean,” Elam said. “It’s a continuation of Earth Day, which we started in April.


“We saw that it was much needed in various areas so we continued,” he added. “Overall, it’s starting to look a lot better, especially around the area of Building 1121 and around the (Fleet Support Division). Little-by-little, baby steps and you can see it’s coming together.


“Some of this debris is roofing insulation from the warehouse area,” Elam noted. “Some other appears to be old tissue (remnants), which blew over from Proctor & Gamble, and some of the insulation we found traveled the distance from the landfill building, which was demolished by the tornado.”


Tscharna Damerow, contractor, Hazardous Material Section, MCLB Albany, gave an overview of the team’s logistics for the cleanup activity.


“We’re doing a continuation of Earth Day,” Damerow said. “Since (the observance in) April, we’ve done five more cleanup sessions. Every Thursday morning at 8:30, we meet in our conference room and Brian (Wallace) gives us directions on where we’re going to clean. We get out here and we work together to get it done.”


Another member of the group, Angel Parker, stock clerk, Recycling Section, Environmental Branch, MCLB Albany, echoed her team’s purpose for the weekly activity.

“We’re doing the Earth Day continuation cleanup,” Parker said. “We’re picking up trash that’s been blown over from the storm, or that’s been around for years that nobody’s picked up. We’ve been all throughout the warehouse area, we cleaned around the pond. We’ve gone out around the railroads and picked up paper around there.


“Sometimes there are more of us out doing the work,” she continued. “Sometimes it’s less, because with Environmental, we’ve always got things going on and people get really busy. It’s important because we’re keeping the environment clean; picking up things from getting in the ground that will never dissolve. We want to keep it looking nice around here rather than junky and cluttered.”


Guenter Schwarz, environmental protection specialist, Environmental Branch, MCLB Albany, who joined his team in the effort, stressed the importance of the weekly event to him.


“We’re out here to cleanup from the aftermath of the tornado,” Schwarz said. “The importance of this to me is to reshape the base to what it used to be (before the storm). It’s going to take us a while, but we will continue every Thursday until it’s done.”


Since the onset of the extended cleanup efforts around the base, Wallace estimates that his team has collected roughly 10 tons of debris, most of which was insulation and Styrofoam.


MCLB Albany officials join the nation in observing Earth Day, an annual event in April, which was created to celebrate preservation of the environment and raise public awareness about pollution.


To view more photos of the cleanup, visit MCLB Albany’s Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/Marine-Corps-Logistics-Base-Albany-512695405469372/.