coney island

We Care About NYC’s Clean Beaches

By Teresa Ippolito

Do you go to the beach when it rains? Probably not, but your neighborhood’s street litter may end up there!

New York City waters and beaches really are cleaner today than they were 20 years ago. Part of the reason for that is the Clean Streets = Clean Beaches campaign.

On a recent Tuesday, a perfect day for the beach and a ball game, a group of EPA and New York City officials kicked off the 2012 campaign at Coney Island’s MCU Park, home of the Brooklyn Cyclones. Deputy Regional Administrator George Pavlou stood with several NYC commissioners to remind New Yorkers how important the street/beach connection is. The speeches over, they made their way into the ballpark where the ceremonial first pitches also highlighted the campaign to the crowd. Most of the spectators that day were kids attending day camps in NYC. They really “got” the message: don’t toss litter in NYC streets. Clean Streets = Clean Beaches.

So, how can street litter end up on a beach? During heavy rainfalls in New York City, street litter, like potato chip bags, plastic bottles and other trash that people drop in the street, can wash down storm drains into sewers and end up being discharged into nearby waterways. Then, the litter washes up onto the beaches with the next high tide. THAT is how stuff usually gets on the beach…from the street! Amazing! Also amazingly preventable.

What can you do? Simply this: don’t litter. Use a litter basket. If none is around, hold onto it until you find an appropriate place to get rid of it. The street and storm drains are NOT where litter belongs!

NYC government trucks are displaying posters with the Clean Street=Clean Beaches message. Look for them!

About the Author: Terry Ippolito serves as the region’s Environmental Education Coordinator out of EPA’s Manhattan office. A former science teacher and school administrator, she brings real world insights into the challenges and delights of teaching about the environment. Terry holds a B.S in Biology and a Masters in Environmental Health Science.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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Celebrating Oceans Month

By Kasia Broussalian

A great majority of us usually pass the day without so much as a single thought of our oceans. There are exceptions, of course. There are those that indeed live by its movements—the fishermen, storm chasers and scientists that all breathe in unison with the waves. However, each of us, no matter how far removed, creates a tenuous link to the seas. Water travels from our oceans to our atmosphere, from the atmosphere to the land and rivers, and from the rivers back out to the ocean. Our upkeep and care of these bodies of water remains key to our daily lives now, and most certainly in the future.

Since the Canadian government’s proposal at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, June 8 has come to pass as World Oceans Day, and President Obama has proclaimed June 2011 as National Oceans Month. To enhance public awareness and participation in legislation concerning our oceans, as well as the protection of coastal communities in the face of climate change, the National Oceans Council will host 12 public listening sessions across the country in hopes of implementing an ocean policy aimed at addressing critical issues facing our oceans. Additionally, the National Oceans Council seeks public feedback and comments during this month for strategic action plans and ways to measure progress in tackling critical issues facing oceans, coastal cities and the Great Lakes. To provide comments and gain further information, please visit this site.

In the photo above, a boy dives from the pier into the waters below at Coney Island in Brooklyn, New York.  Please share any of your experiences with the oceans; whether they be a favorite beach, a particular issue, or even a fond memory that heightened your appreciation.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.