The Environment – Issues in New York 2020

In the midst of global environment crisis, staying in oblivion of environmental issues in New York may pose a potential problem by any resident of New York.

“Environmental hazards are not just the government problem but the people problem”.

New York, with a population estimated at 8.6 million residents (making it a larger population than 38 states including Montana, Washington and Colorado) is about the third heavy polluter in global ranking.

Some top environmental issues in New York include Renewable energy, Waste management, Water quality, Food waste amongst others.

Impacts of environmental issues in New York

It is estimated that New Yokers use 23 billion plastic bags annually, made from an estimate value of 12 million barrels of oil; and a whooping 50% of these single use plastic bags end up as litters.

These litters harm aquatics leading to suffocation or death, some aquatic animals mistake these litters for food and ingest them  thereby predisposing humans who feed on these aquatic animals to dangerous chemicals as poly chlorinated biphynels, polycyclic  aromatic hydrocarbons and heavy metals that would have been trapped by micro plastic litters before ingestion by the aquatics. Toxic plastics have been found in seafood humans eat.

Nevertheless, exploring sustainable methods to reduce the amount of plastic litters that end up in landfills and waterways seem viable solutions to tackling the environmental issues highlighted.

Every resident of New York has a role to play.

Recycling and upcycling are good sustainable methods of waste management.

Recycling trash can reduce trash that end up in landfills by up to 60%. One easy way yo start recycling trash is by donation, what you call trash may be useful to someone else. Another very important point to note before engaging in recycling that involves machines, would be segregation of trash into types. Mixing trash types makes recycling cumbersome and uninteresting for both start ups and commercial firms.

You can segregate into various recyclables-  paper, glass, plastic, metals, e-waste, organic and hazardous (batteries, light bulbs, pesticides, paints, automobile fluids  etc). Also note that certain types of trash especially those from medical and clinical organizations have guidelines for management and disposal. Hence those who generate these kinds of waste need to contact relevant authorities to ensure close supervision during disposal and recycling where necessary.

Upcycling on the other hand, is a form of recycling that adds value to waste trash giving them more quality and usefulness. It is a way of creatively utilizing what would have been referred to as waste, trash useless, and transforming into new products. Recycling and Upcycling amongst other benefits utilizes less energy, saves energy that would been used in production using new raw materials.

The government also has it’s specific roles to make laws and policies as well as ensure implementation of the laws.

Interestingly, January 7 2020,  could be referred, as a day to reckon as Governor Cuomo Andrew gave his 2020 speech highlighting great plans to solve environmental issues as priority , this includes a $3 billion environment bond act for restoration of natural resources with special focus on efforts that will make New York resilient to the impact of CLIMATE CHANGE.

As a follow up on sustainability  plan, after the creation of the New York State Plastic Bag Task Force March 2017; Governor Cuomo on Earth Day 2019, signed the bill to ban single-use plastic bags to take effect from March 2020. This is specifically to reduce litter in New York, as well as cut down on greenhouse gas emissions resulting from the production and disposal of plastic bags including emissions from transportation of plastic bags to landfills. This is a welcome development on the part of the government.

The environment is what we all have in common, and everyone is a stakeholder of the environment hence there is need for a strong synergy in fighting environment issues in New York to achieve a sustainable state and city.

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