- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 6, 2002

Trampled patches of grass and a few scattered bits of garbage were all that remained on the Mall yesterday morning after hundreds of thousands of people celebrated the nation's 226th birthday on Thursday.
National Park Service crews collected about 22 tons of garbage after the Fourth of July celebrations. About 55 maintenance employees worked overtime to complete the job, which began immediately after the Thursday night fireworks display.
Most of the cleanup had been completed by 4 a.m. yesterday, said National Park Service spokesman Bill Line, adding that reusable glass, metal, plastic and paper items will be recycled.
Crews still must remove about 10 miles of wood-slat snow fencing around the Mall in the next few weeks. The double fence was put up as an extra measure to enhance security for the first Independence Day after the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Mr. Line said the fence removal may take until Aug. 1 to complete.
Early morning Mall visitors yesterday had few reasons to believe a huge celebration had occurred a few hours earlier. Only pickup trucks carrying some fencing and trucks towing dozens of portable toilets from the Washington Monument provided any clues.
"It's very impressive that it's still clean," said Harro Van Brummelen, 60, an education professor from Vancouver, British Columbia. "It'd be an awful job to clean it up. I'm impressed I can't imagine how it was done."
Mr. Line said maintenance crews "just walk around and pick it [trash] up."
Last year, workers collected between 27 and 30 tons of trash after a rain-soaked Independence Day celebration attracted about 500,000 revelers.
Yesterday's Mall cleanup was less strenuous because fewer people attended this year's celebration. Many are believed to have been deterred by Thursday's stifling heat and a fear of terrorism.
Only 356,673 persons used Metro's subway system Thursday, down 26 percent from last year when 486,256 riders used the subway, said Metro spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein. Metro's busiest Independence Day was in 1997, when more than 593,000 passengers used Metrorail.
"I think people have a high awareness of terrorism, but I think the weather was more of a problem," said Miss Farbstein, explaining the decline in ridership.
Miss Farbstein said there were no reported security incidents Thursday. "It was a typical day, nothing unusual," she said.
"It was really a disappointing day," said Linda Orr, a 37-year-old local restaurant owner who has a booth set up for the Smithsonian Folk Life Festival on the Mall. "There just wasn't enough people. It was just really a miserable day."


Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide