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Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany

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Base celebrates Earth Day

By Art Powell | | April 15, 2010

When the 40th Earth Day is observed at Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany April 22, an expanded slate of activities is on-tap to help protect the environment and educate base personnel on the importance of clean air, water and land.

Base officials have approved the largest list ever of activities here, ranging from, among many, planting flowers at the Child Development Center, to collecting litter along a section of Mock Road near the installation, to a recycling contest.

“It’s hard to believe that Earth Day is turning 40 this year, and more than one-billion people around the globe are expected to participate in activities to make our Earth a better place to live. We’ll be doing our part,” said Col. Terry V. Williams, commanding officer, MCLB Albany. “It’s a great time for us to reflect on the importance of protecting the environment, not just here, but around the world.”

While most people are aware of the need to protect the environment, that wasn’t always the case.

Before 1970, a factory could spew black clouds of toxic waste into the air or dump tons of toxic waste into a nearby stream, and it was perfectly legal. They could not be taken to court to stop it, according to information available at http://www.epa.gov/earthday/history.htm.

In 1970, President Richard Nixon and Congress established the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in response to the growing public demand for cleaner water, air and land. The EPA was tasked with the challenging goal of repairing the damage already done to the environment and to establish guidelines to help Americans in making a cleaner, and safer environment a reality.

To make this year’s Earth Day observance at MCLB Albany the largest ever, Williams and his staff organized a list of environmentally friendly activities.

“We recognize Earth Day every year at the base,” said Brian Wallace, manager, environmental branch, Installation and Environment Division. “This year, we’re expanding our program to include cleaning up along a section of Mock Road, and we have energy saving projects this year to help reduce labor, fuel usage, green house and other emissions.”

This year’s Earth Day agenda at MCLB Albany was developed based on input taken from each base division.

“Colonel Williams asked each of the division directors to give him some ideas, and that’s how we came up with the list of activities this year,” Wallace explained.

These initiatives include ‘Lights out for Lunch’ to encourage personnel to turn off office lights when they leave their work area for lunch.

Also, there will be decreased mowing of selected areas aboard the installation.

Selected areas along East Matthews Boulevard and the old housing area will be allowed to return to their natural state, thus saving the fuel and labor required to mow them.

Plaques have been placed on storm drains urging personnel to refrain from dumping anything into them which isn’t intended for storm drains, since what is poured into them eventually flows into the Flint River.

Marine Corps Community Services will address environmental friendly issues with Styrofoam.

“We plan to switch over from Styrofoam-type materials to paper, with the exception of our carry-out trays for hot foods,” said Dick French, director, MCCS. “With one exception, we expect to be Styrofoam free within the next 60-90 days as we work through our current Styrofoam inventory.”

Volunteers will conduct litter pick-up along Mock Road as well as selected areas on base.

The winners of a recycling contest will be announced Wednesday, following a spirited competition between base divisions and special staff, with a “Golden Trash Can” being presented to the winner, who will hold the trophy until the next competition.

Trees are scheduled to be planted along East Matthews Boulevard and Walker Avenue, along with flowers at the Child Development Center.

Banners will be displayed at base gates, there will be a display at the base restaurant, along with other multimedia activities to raise awareness of Earth Day.

Earth Day activities aboard MCLB Albany mirror similar events around the Marine Corps.

“The Marine Corps is big on observing Earth Day,” said John Topper, environmental specialist, environmental branch, I&E. “It’s not just here, it’s Marine Corps wide.”

Plans for the next Earth Day at MCLB Albany call for expanding the list of activities developed for this year’s observance.

Did you know?

* Eighty-four percent of all household waste can be recycled.

* The amount of wood and paper thrown away is enough to heat 50 million homes for 20 years.

* Every ton of paper that is recycled saves 17 trees.

* Each gallon of fuel releases 20 pounds of carbon dioxide into the air.

* Most families throw away about 88 pounds of plastic every year.

Computers pose an environmental threat because much of the material used in their construction is hazardous. A typical monitor contains 4-5 pounds of lead.

How long does it take for some things to break down?

* Plastics take 500 years

* Aluminum cans take 500 years

* Organic materials take six months

* Rags and paper take six months