Tag Archives: enviornment

Sandy’s environmental impact

| aaltman@queenscourier.com

Sandy slammed local ecosystems, leaving an environmental disaster in its wake. Debris clogs waterways, oil sludge stews in Jamaica Bay, and the water in Breezy Point is completely undrinkable.

“We woke up in a new world,” said Dan Hendrick, a spokesperson for the New York League of Conservation.

The environmental expert, now filming a documentary about Jamaica Bay, said Sandy left both short- and long-term damage, ranging from trash in the water ways to obliterated ecosystems. A major, immediate issue — oil spills — stems from Broad Channel’s heating systems operating on oil rather than natural gas.

“[The oil] will disperse with time but it was something that had a very strong, localized impact on Broad Channel,” said Hendrick.

The Rockaway Wastewater Treatment Plant also suffered severe damage from the storm, said Hendrick. Ten of the city’s 14 waste-water treatment plants and more than 40 sanitary sewer pumping stations were damaged by Sandy.

Experts speculate the storm tainted the water in Breezy Point, which is served by a distribution center isolated to the area that operates separate from New York City’s water system.

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is urging Breezy Point residents to avoid drinking or even wading in the water unprotected. In certain areas, water has been restored for fire fighting purposes. However, DEP officials condemn drinking the water, even after boiling. According to a DEP spokesperson, the agency is working alongside the Department of Health to ensure people avoid bodies of water.

“Residents should wash their hands and practice proper hygiene if they come into contact with the water,” said the spokesperson.

Many Breezy Point residents, however, continued to wade barefoot in the water as they moved salvaged belongings from their homes to their cars.

In the next few days, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will conduct tests on the water to determine what could be lurking beneath the surface and to determine the extent of the problem. Safe drinking water has been provided to residents still in Breezy Point at DEP-installed portable water stations.

According to a DEP spokesperson, two treatment plants were forced to shut down temporarily during the storm on Monday, October 29.

“This is a real test for the city, state and federal government,” said Hendrick. “We have decisively moved past deciding whether or not climate change is real. This could be a real opportunity for New York City to really take the lead on climate adaptation.”

Hendrick said rebuilding will become an important defense against future storm damage, preparing infrastructure to withstand violent water and wind. Nearly 500,000 people live in the area surrounding Jamaica Bay.

“Nature is really resilient,” said Hendrick. “I think Jamaica Bay will bounce back.”

Effort to keep Roosevelt Avenue clean

| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Councilmember Julissa Ferreras Councilmember Julissa Ferreras, Department of Sanitation Commissioner John J. Doherty, Douglas Marsiglia, chief of cleaning operations, Assemblymember Francisco Moya and Senator Jose Peralta (left to right) stand around one of the 14 new litter baskets placed along the Roosevelt Avenue business corridor.

Councilmember Julissa Ferreras is trashing old garbage pails that permitted refuse to overflow onto the sidewalks of Roosevelt Avenue.

The councilmember joined New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY) Comissioner John Doherty on October 18 to announce the installation of 14 new, high-end litter baskets along the Roosevelt Avenue business corridor.

“Today’s announcement is just the beginning of a much larger plan for improving the Roosevelt Avenue business corridor,” said Ferreras. “The new litter baskets have a larger capacity to better meet the demand of this high traffic area.”

The councilmember, who is sponsoring the trash receptacles, is also funding extra basket collection service along the avenue, in the hopes of quelling the garbage problem faced by members of the community.

“I want to see a thriving Roosevelt Avenue,” Ferreras said. “Creating a cleaner, safer place is a top priority for us. These high-end litter baskets will help keep overflowing trash off the street and help create a better environment for the residents and businesses alike, as we work to make Roosevelt Avenue a safer, cleaner destination for all.”

The larger baskets will be placed along Roosevelt Avenue on the corners of 82nd Street, 90th Street, Junction Boulevard, 103rd Street and 111th Street.

The extra collection service, which began in July, increased pickups from every other Sunday to every Sunday.

“By funding these initiatives, Councilmember Ferreras provides a great example of how elected officials and residents, working together with the Sanitation Department, can make a real difference in helping to keep their communities clean,” said Doherty.

Photo Courtesy of Councilmember Julissa Ferreras:

Councilmember Julissa Ferreras, Department of Sanitation Commissioner John J. Doherty, Douglas Marsiglia, chief of cleaning operations, Assemblymember Francisco Moya and Senator Jose Peralta (left to right) stand around one of the 14 new litter baskets placed along the Roosevelt Avenue business corridor.

Steinway Street goes Green

| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com


Astoria’s green initiative is also beautifying the neighborhood.

Councilmember Peter F. Vallone Jr., Senator Michael Gianaris, Department of Transportation Queens Borough Commissioner Maura McCarthy and members of the Steinway Astoria Partnership united on September 15 for the unveiling of several environmentally-friendly additions to Steinway Street.

Among the improvements are new plants and flower baskets lining the street, and benches composed of recycled plastic that are replicas of those used during the 1964 World’s Fair.

“It’s fitting that the heart of Astoria’s shopping district, lined with both individually-owned shops and chain stores, would receive replica 1964 World’s Fair benches made of recycled materials,” said Vallone. “Steinway Street preserves small business values from a past era, with a modern twist.

It is easy being green

| jlane@queenscourier.com


The residents of Western Queens are no longer green when it comes to saving the environment.

Hundreds of people attended the first annual Western Queens Green Resources Fair on September 10 in order to learn how to live healthier, greener lives and discover green activities in the area. The fair, which was made possible by the Greening Western Queens Fund of North Star Fund, was held at the Long Island City Queens Library, located at 40-20 Broadway.

“Libraries are ultimate in reuse,” said Lynne Serpe, the fair’s organizer. “They are about learning and sharing resources. What better place to learn about being green than your local library?”

Roughly two dozen green organizations participated in the event, including Build It Green! NYC, Earth Day NY, Green Shores NYC, National Children’s Study and the Astoria Park Alliance.

Games, giveaways and eco-crafts were available at the fair, providing an enjoyable and educational day for children and adults alike. In addition, visitors had the opportunity to plant peas and beans to bring home with them and interact with Serema chickens and loads of worms.

“People have a real interest in learning how they can save money and save the environment, whether from recycling or composting or making their homes more energy efficient,” said Serpe, who also manages a Greening Initiative at five local branch libraries. “But they also want to have fun. Our eco-crafting and gardening programs are hugely popular.”