De Blasio to propose drastic waste reduction plan for NYC: report

A New York City street. Photo Credit: iStock

The mayor pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050 last year.

A New York City street.
A New York City street. Photo Credit: iStock

Mayor Bill de Blasio will promote an expansive green plan Wednesday that will reduce the city’s waste by three million tons over the next 15 years, according to a report.

The “Zero Waste” plan is part of the mayor’s revision to PlaNYC, an environmental roadmap unveiled by Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2007, and includes consolidating the city’s recycling program and reducing the amount of waste that the city ships out among other initiatives, according to the Associated Press. The announcement came after weeks of anticipation from environmental groups who pushed the mayor to act on climate change.

“The administration has been sending good signals, but Wednesday is the big show,” said Eric Goldstein, an attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council, before the plan’s unveiling.

Last fall, de Blasio pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050 and said all publicly owned buildings would be upgraded to reduced energy use by 2025. Yesterday, he revealed that solar panels were installed on the roof of City Hall and at two other city facilities.

“Tripling the amount of solar currently on City buildings is a crucial part of our plan,” the mayor said in a statement. 

Ken Baer, the chair of the NYC Sierra Club, before the plan was revealed said that he’d give de Blasio a “C” for his efforts so far.

“We need more significant reductions,” he said. “The 80% reduction in greenhouse gases needs to occur by 2025 and no later than 2030, otherwise our environment will be in shambles.”

Amy Spitalnick, a spokeswoman for the mayor, said the plan would have a major impact. “As we’ve made clear, this will be a blueprint for a more sustainable, resilient, strong, and equitable New York City — expanding on the previous plans and the ambitious agenda the mayor has already outlined,” she said in a statement.

Goldstein, who said the NRDC had a representative in the closed-door meetings about the updated plan, was cautiously optimistic before the announcement. Along with the mayor’s environmentally friendly rhetoric, he pointed to individuals such as Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver, who has a history of green space expansion in his current role and during his stint with the city planning department, and Kathryn Garcia, the Sanitation Commissioner who has pledged to increase city recycling.

“Their goals and the details will tell a lot about the future direction of this administration,” Goldstein said.

In addition, he noted that the mayor in the past pledged a $130 million investment for 35 parks in communities with the greatest need for green space and $36.3 million to the Department of Environmental Protection to fund green infrastructure improvements.

Many advocates stressed the need to protect shore lines from higher tides and storm surges. Baer said he would like to see stronger regulations for construction in flood-prone areas.

On Monday, 80 environmental groups sent a joint letter to the mayor and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, urging them to pass a bill that would place a 10-cent surcharge on disposable shopping bags. Every year, New Yorkers dispose 10 billion bags, which aren’t biodegradable.

De Blasio didn’t tell the AP he would endorse the bill but 
officials told the agency a reduction is important.?

Ivan Pereira