By Peter Aronson
The New York League of Conservation Voters (NYLCV) applauds the New York City Council for recently passing four important environmental laws, three to reduce lead-paint poisoning in the city and a fourth to require that the city establish an on-line interactive map for the city’s bike routes.
And in another positive environmental move in the city, the “skip the stuff” law passed by the city earlier in the year went into effect July 31.
“It’s been a very good few weeks for the city environmentally speaking regarding new laws to lower our city’s carbon footprint and make it a healthier and more equitable place to live,” said Alia Soomro, NYLCV’s Deputy Director for NYC Policy. “We hope other cities around the country are watching and ready to follow our New York’s lead.”
The City Council’s passage of bills 5-A, 6-A and 750-A will go a long way towards eliminating lead-paint hazards in New York City.
- – 5-A will require property owners to produce records of self-inspections and records of any measures taken for the immediately previous year to abate lead-based paint hazards whenever a violation has been issued by the city.
- – 6-A will require permanent abatement of lead paint on friction surfaces – areas like windows, doors, floors, porches, stairways, and cabinets where the paint may wear from rubbing and cause lead dust – in rental units with children under six-years-old by a certain date.
- – 750-A will create an inspection program requiring the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development to annually identify at least 200 residential buildings that may pose lead exposure risks to children who reside in such buildings
As a member of the NYC Coalition to End Lead Poisoning, the NYLCV believes strongly that no level of lead exposure is safe, as even small amounts can cause neurological damage and other health problems. And we know that lead poisoning disproportionately impacts children in low-income and communities of color, making passage of these laws essential to meet the city’s goal for environmental justice.
The Council’s passage of 289-A will require the NYC Department of Transportation to create a searchable map that shows all of the city’s bike lanes, as well as information about the location of open streets, bicycle parking infrastructure, and micromobility share programs and stations.
NYLCV was outspoken on behalf of this law, because we know that safe and widespread access to all this information is crucial to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and meeting the city’s and state’s carbon reduction goals.
And, finally, the good news concludes with the knowledge that the well-publicized “skip the stuff” law is now in effect in the five boroughs, requiring restaurants and other food providers, and food couriers and other food delivery platforms to provide eating utensils, napkins, condiment packets and extra eating containers only if a consumer asks for them. According to the Mayor’s office, 36 million pounds of single-use plastic food-ware has been collected from the city’s residential waste system each year.
“This is a pivotal step towards eliminating single-use plastics from polluting our waterways, landfills, and incinerators,” Soomro said, adding that she hopes other cities that rely on take-out follow New York City’s lead.