Join the REvolution, Stop ALl Pollution
During the pandemic, one problem that seemed to be temporarily solved was pollution. People were staying inside so no one littered, less cars were on the streets, streets were cleaner, and the air was less clogged. But as people started emerging from their homes, their the world went back to the way it was before, with plastic bags floating down streets and cigarette butts thrown carelessly all over the sidewalk.
To find out which aspect of pollution was the most disruptive to our community, we held surveys with locals and asked them what they thought could use the most improvement. With these surveys and personal experiences, we narrowed down our project to lack of education about pollution, and not enough people setting a good example. To aid us in our project, we interviewed professors and activists about the progress that has been made in recent years and how we could help. From them we learned about new and promising policies that could drastically change the emissions caused by cars and how single use plastics could be cut even further.
We decided to have 3 parts to our project this year: a presentation to inform, a cleanup to set an example, and more garbage cans to set longer term solutions.
In our presentation, we decided that the most important information to teach others is: the effects of pollution, what's being done about pollution, what they can do to stop pollution. We presented the information that we got from our interviews and also streamed the presentation to Instagram to get the word as much as we could.
For our cleanup, we wanted to show how much of an impact that could be done if people recycled and disposed of litter instead of throwing it on the ground. To do this we decided to have cleanups on multiple days so that more people will see and try to help. We found this to be a success since we were approached by multiple people asking what we were doing and wanted to join. Special thanks to the park staff and locals for helping us out and suppling us with the equipment we needed to carry out our plan.
The long term solution that we thought of started with a problem that we faced when were cleaning up the park. There were almost no trash cans when we walked further away from the park and the places with the most litter also had the least garbage cans. We attempted to solve this by going around and creating a map of all the local garbage cans. This way we knew which streets were missing trash cans and could then request them from the Department of Sanitation.
We hope that after our project this year, people will start being more mindful of where they leave their garbage and take action against pollution. By setting an example for each other, we can make longer term change and continue to keep our community cleaner.