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Guest Op-Ed: We need to bring awareness to climate change

Climate change is a serious issue that adversely affects communities across the globe. We need to reduce greenhouse gases and other waste products that are seriously polluting our environment and hurting our quality of life.

It is imperative that we immediately begin to reduce, reuse and recycle our waste. For this reason, I have been fighting the city’s proposed marine waste transfer station on Gravesend Bay for nearly the past decade. This garbage station will adversely affect the environment and quality-of-life for all of southern Brooklyn.

The proposal is part of the city’s outdated management of trash. It is time to create a progressive plan for managing our trash. Recycling and reusing our waste is the answer. Marine waste transfer stations are not.

In addition, this site was severely flooded during Superstorm Sandy. A similar storm will cause extensive flooding of the proposed site, sending the trash into homes, schools, nursing homes and shared public spaces.

Additionally, I have sponsored our “Speak-Up & Clean-Up” campaign since 2011, aiming to keep our neighborhood clean and spread awareness about environmentalism by holding five clean-ups every year.

We have not only physically cleaned up the community, but have also spread the word about protecting the environment and practicing good sanitation habits, passing out flyers in different languages (to help our diverse immigrant population) describing sanitation laws and guidelines.

Also, as a member of the Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee, I sponsored legislation which passed the Assembly in 2014 that encourages and enhances statewide recycling efforts and compliance by local governments and waste-haulers.

This session, the Assembly also passed legislation to prevent the use of dangerous chemicals in children’s products; prohibit the use of chemical flame retardants on residential upholstered furniture; limit the level of mercury in light bulbs; prevent communities from bearing an unfair environmental burden by publishing a list of areas most adversely affected by existing environmental hazards; and establish a permanent environmental justice advisory group and interagency coordinating council.

Pollution and climate change are not partisan concerns. We must find a way to send a clear message that this is no longer up for debate, that we must be forward-thinking in our approach to preventing and reducing damage to our environment.

I will continue to work toward reducing waste and pollution of the environment so that we will be able to live, work and raise families on this great planet for many years to come.

Assemblymember William Colton represents the 47th A.D.

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