Globally, Earth Day was Sunday, April 22, a day dedicated to raising awareness for protecting the environment. More than 22,000 agencies across 192 countries around the world have partnered to empower the Earth Day movement since its inception in 1970. Earth Day is every day here in Secaucus. Seasonal flowers are in bloom in all neighborhoods, including municipal parking lots, the Central Business District in the plaza, and landscaping around our many parks and playgrounds. Schmidts Woods, Mill Creek Point and Snipes Park, the Duck Pond, Fountain and Trolley Parks are all located in a natural environment.
Over 300 trees are being replaced or newly planted through the Shade Tree Committee and Arbor Day program. Trees have been selected to be more suitable for use around utility lines. Our carbon footprint is being reduced with eco-friendly initiatives like the no idling ordinance that was recently adopted. Solar Panels are also being installed on utility poles and public buildings.
Last year, this administration banned Styrofoam from schools, restaurants and small businesses in a bold effort to raise awareness of the dangers of Styrofoam, which is made from petroleum, a heavy pollutant that could affect the central nervous system. Styrofoam is not biodegradable. It clogs up landfills and affects marine life as it infiltrates into the water system. A town-wide ban on the controversial process of fracking is also on the horizon. Fracking is the hydraulic fracturing of shale used by the oil and gas industry.
Give Your Trash a Second Chance exemplifies our long standing recycling program. In addition to glass, aluminum and cardboard, many other items are picked up including large appliances, such as stoves, and refrigerators, and electronics, keeping them out of landfills. Hazardous materials such as anti-freeze and used motor oil are also collected in addition to fluorescent bulbs. A town-wide collection of expired prescription drugs for proper disposal of unwanted medication was also held on Saturday.
With 36 billion aluminum cans dumped in landfills last year, recycling just one soda can takes about 60 days to be back as a new can on a supermarket shelf. For more info on recycling programs, call the DPW at (201) 330-2080, or click on the link on the town website, www.secaucusnj.org.
Municipal vehicles are being replaced with hybrid cars to reduce emissions and increase mileage. Hybrids are already being used in the construction and police departments, parking enforcement and medical escort. The Port Authority has also partnered with our green efforts through its generous donation of two vans to the OEM, which would be used by other local agencies through the Emergency Management Office. The vehicles operate using compressed Natural Gas.
The environmental committee is diligent in creating ways to make Secaucus a green community to benefit Mother Earth for generations to come. To this end, we are working with an agency to see where energy is being wasted in public buildings. There are many ways you and your family could make a positive difference such as walking or bike riding through town instead of driving; reduce the amount of household trash by eliminating use of single use plastic bottles or bags; plant a garden or tree in your yard. If you don’t have a yard, residents will soon be able to enjoy gardening with friends and neighbors when the new community garden is implemented.
Every conscious environmental step each one of us takes helps protect our land and water. These efforts make a difference as we continue to hold outdoor events including the annual fishing derby at the Duck Pond next weekend and the fun-filled annual Green Summer Festival next month at Mill Creek Point Park.
I encourage you to take some time to learn about protecting the environment and then teach someone else. There are several websites available, including Carbon Zero Calculator that could help you reduce your carbon footprint. Together we can make a difference in creating a strong sustainable and environmentally friendly community.