Residents of Sheepshead Bay can now take in the beauty of their surroundings and enjoy their local waterway even more due to a clean up effort that took place today.
City Councilman Chaim Deutsch (D-Sheepshead Bay, Manhattan Beach, Brighton Beach, Homecrest) alongside the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) took the day to clean up all of the debris and trash accumulation alongside the perimeter of Sheepshead Bay.
The DEP provided two “jon boats”, or small, narrow boats for the effort in order to get under the Ocean Avenue Pedestrian Bridge. Manned by a team of two, the boats were able to collect about a dozen bags of accumulated debris including glass and plastic bottles, paper and candy wrappers just a few hours into the effort.
The crews arrived around 6:45 a.m. and started scooping out debris with nets by hand around 7:15 a.m.
“Protecting our environment is all of ours responsibilities and when you come to Sheepshead Bay and you see the eyesore of all of the trash that accumulates in the bay, that comes from the streets and trash being blown into the bay, it is our responsibility to clean it up. Today is a beautiful day and all these people deserve to enjoy the bay,” said Deutsch.
Local residents have had to deal with the recent eye sore of the polluted waterway due to an increase in traffic during the Summer months and the changing of the tides.
“[The clean up effort] is a continuation of the beautification process of this bay. It’s a long time coming. Just a few weeks ago, the opening of the bay was so filthy and dirty that the birds, the ducks and swans and different kind of fowl, weren’t even coming to swim around,” said Sheepshead Bay resident Roberta Engelfried.
Today’s clean up, which is continuing throughout the day, will eventually include a group of Summer Youth Volunteers who will go picking up litter from the streets and sidewalks in a district-wide effort to clean up the neighborhood.
The clean up is a part of a bigger DEP initiative known as the “Don’t Trash Our Waters” campaign. The public awareness campaign launched last month in Coney Island aimed at reducing litter and improving the health of New York City’s waterbodies.
According to the DEP, the trash that is discarded on city streets and sidewalks ends up in surrounding bodies of water that then put the health of marine and human life at risk. In one of the bags that was filled during the effort, dead fish were inside. A sign that the debris has already caused damage to the local wildlife.
“The litter you throw on the street has a way of finding it’s way back into our waterways. If everyone can chip in and do their part to put our trash in litter baskets, we can keep our waterways clean and that will keep the environment clean, keeps our marine life clean and allows people to enjoy fishing and recreational activities, like swimming, without having trash ruin the day,” said DEP Spokesperson Doug Auer.