Clean Streets=Clean Beaches campaign kicks off

An anti-littering campaign will be sweeping the streets (and beaches) of New York City this summer.

The Clean Streets=Clean Beaches campaign announced in early July was elaborated on during a July 13 press conference attended by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY), New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, and the city’s Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD).

“For several years, New York City has partnered with the federal government to inform New Yorkers about how trash and debris that has been improperly discarded on the streets can be washed into the sewer system and discharged into local waterways during heavy rainstorms,” explained Associate Commissioner of the DEP Eric Landau.

According to Landau, 2,000 DOS vehicles will hit the streets with Clean Streets=Clean Beaches posters, “to remind New Yorkers in all five boroughs about the importance of properly disposing litter.”

The campaign will be aided by the DYCD’s Summer Youth Employment Program, in which some 200 youth workers will collect litter from along shorelines and beaches around the city.

“When you let that piece of garbage out of your hand onto the corner, it is a huge job for me that I cannot do alone,” said DSNY Commissioner Kathryn Garcia. “We need to ensure that the public is also doing their part.”

The campaign, which has existed since the early 1990s, has been integral to preserving the quality of New York’s 14 miles of beaches and 150 miles of coastline according to Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver.

“This summer will attract millions of people to our beaches,” said Silver. “But despite our best efforts to keep them clean and garbage-free, there’s broken glass, litter and other refuse that can show up anywhere. This event is an important reminder about the role New Yorkers can play in keeping our streets and beaches clean. Litter that ends up in city streets can end up on our city beaches. So by keeping the streets clean, you’re keeping our beaches clean.”

According to Joan Leary Matthews, director of clean water with the EPA, pollution from land could potentially contribute to a total of one pound of plastic to every three pounds of fish in the world’s oceans in the next 10 years.

“The message of the Clean Streets=Clean Beaches campaign is clear,” said Matthews. “When it rains, you don’t go to the beach, your trash does.”

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