- The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has provided $365,000 through its Trash Free Waters initiative to seven community projects aimed at keeping plastic out of waterways in New York and New Jersey, as reported by Plastics News.
- Funding was awarded through a competitive grant process by the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission.
- New York City's Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the Product Stewardship Institute, the North Hudson Sewerage Authority, the Hudson River Foundation/NY-NJ Harbor & Estuary Program, Cafeteria Culture, the Bronx River Alliance and the Clean Water Fund were all grant recipients.
According to the EPA, the current amount of marine plastic waste is expected to double by 2025. A recent study by NY/NJ Baykeeper found at least 165 million plastic particles could currently be floating in the regional harbor estuary between the two states. The Trash Free Waters initiative aims to reduce the volume of plastic in marine environments with the goal of as little waste as possible entering U.S. waterways within 10 years.
The largest award was nearly $68,000 to the Hudson River Foundation/NY-NJ Harbor and Estuary Program for data collection around litter and a community outreach program to encourage reduction. The New York City program Cafeteria Culture followed with $60,000 for a student-led education and outreach program around litter in select low-income neighborhoods. Other projects will tackle litter in rivers, packaging waste and catch basin retrofitting.
New clean-up technology often gets the most attention when it comes to marine plastic, but source prevention is seen as even more important in many cases. Littering accounts for a sizable portion of this material and overall community recycling education may help reduce that. In an interesting connection, the funding for DEP will also be used to promote New York's upcoming fee on single-use bags.