By Doc Searls from Santa Barbara, USA [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

NYLCVEF Joins Effort to Protect Long Island Sound

June 3, 2014

Pollution is a major concern for Long Island Sound – a fact that is made painfully clear every summer.

Lots of people want to enjoy the nice weather by spending time at the beach, but no one wants to hear their beach is closed because there are bacteria from raw sewage swimming in the waters. This is the reason Long Island Sound beaches close every summer and that number is on the rise. Last summer alone, there were 136 beach closings in Westchester County.

Not only is the pollution a threat to public health, it is bad for the surrounding environment. Each summer, low oxygen “dead zones” overwhelm the Sound. The hot weather means oxygen levels can drop down to almost nothing. The ecosystem suffers the brunt of it because the fish, lobsters, crabs, and other marine animals are unintentionally caught in these unsafe areas.

We must take dramatic action to clean up the Sound. We’ll need old sewer systems and pipes fixed to stop leaks and overflows of sewage and fertilizers – but first we need to develop the political will to get the job done and make the right investments.

That’s why NYLCVEF stepped up our efforts to protect the Long Island Sound this summer. Throughout the month of June, we reached out to 20,000 individuals to identify their interest in learning more about how they could protect the Long Island Sound. This was done through a mobile outreach program, that reaches people directly on their cell phones and enables them to get more information on a mobile website.

The response was overwhelming! Citizen activists responded in earnest, with nearly 1,500 taking a pledge to protect the Sound in a number of ways including reporting pollution to environmental enforcement agencies, reaching out to public officials in support sewer infrastructure improvements and keeping a healthier garden and lawn. These new citizen activists continue to stay involved by volunteering, learning more about the issues in their area, and educating their neighbors.

This project was possible thanks to a generous grant from the Verizon Foundation. NYLCV’s Education Fund also was proud to work with local organization Save the Sound to create the content and engage the local community.

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