Our 2016 clean up day season kicked off on Saturday, April 16. For our 2015 clean up day in Southeast Greenpoint, we focused on the area around McGolrick Park. This year, we partnered with the Cooper Park Houses Resident’s Association to clean up the only New York City Housing Authority development in Greenpoint as well as the surrounding blocks. Ms. Julia Foster, the president of the Resident’s Association, helped us mobilize many Cooper Park residents to pick up the grounds and green spaces in their development.
Clean Up Day #5 was our best attended event to date. We had over 85 volunteers, thanks to groups coming out from Cooper Park Houses, the New York Water Environment Association, NYU Wagner Cares, and Usher’s New Look. We were lucky to have Deputy Borough President Diana Reyna stop by to motivate our amazing volunteers. The Deputy Borough President brought a homemade dog waste bag dispenser that she created out of a plastic bottle and installed on the gate outside of her front door. She explained that it is up to all of us to do something about our litter problem, and that it benefits us all to pick up the slack (or dog poop) left by others.
Before this clean up day, the Curb Your Litter project team met to regroup on our citizen data collection protocols that we use for during our clean up days. We made these changes to improve the experience of our clean up days and the stories we can tell with our data.
-We reduced Zone size from 8 blocks to 4 blocks because volunteers were not able to complete the 8 block zones
-The Litter Characterization form now collects counts instead of weights. We modeled this method after the Ocean Conservancy and Littoral Society characterization studies. We made this change because weights did not accurately convey the prevalence of certain items. For example, coffee cups made up a larger portion of the litter than plastic bottles, but since plastic bottles weigh more than paper cups this result was not depicted by our metrics.