Lawmakers seek to ban single-use water bottles in NYS parks

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NYS Senator Elijah Reichlin-Melnick, center.

NYACK – State Senator Elijah Reichlin-Melnick and environmental advocates gathered Thursday at Nyack Beach State Park to announce new legislation banning the sale of single-use plastic water bottles in New York State Parks managed by the Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation. The legislation is supported by the Sierra Club, the New York League of Conservation Voters, and Keep Rockland Beautiful.

One million single-use plastic water bottles are sold around the world every minute, but less than a third of these will be recycled, according to Reichlin-Melnick. The Senator’s spokesperson also noted that most of the single-use plastic water bottles eventually find their way into landfills, lakes, rivers, and oceans, leaching chemicals and micro-plastics into the water supply. The vast majority of single-use plastic water bottles are made from fossil fuels, and their production and shipment significantly contribute to man-made climate change.

Reichlin-Melnick (D-Rockland/Westchester) said, “As our country and nations around the world struggle to come to grips with the enormity of the challenges presented by the plastic pollution and climate crises, this bill will help New York State be a leader in the fight to decrease plastic pollution going into our environment and the associated impacts to the climate that come with single-use plastic production”.

Assemblymember Patricia Fahy (D-Albany) is sponsoring the Assembly version of the bill and said “Our national and global plastic pollution crisis is directly tied to the climate crisis”.  Fahy indicated that this bill is the first step in tackling the larger issue of plastic pollution.

Gale Pisha, Co-chair of Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter’s Legislative Committee and member of Rockland Sierra Club, said “By banning the sale of these unsustainable single-use plastic bottles in our state parks, Senator Reichlin-Melnick and Assemblymember Fahy’s bill takes an important step towards freeing us from the scourge of single-use plastics and protecting our health”.

“The New York League of Conservation Voters is excited to see new legislation to reduce single-use plastic use. To create a sustainable and clean New York, we need to rethink how we rely on plastic,” said Julie Tighe, the League’s President, adding ” This important legislation that will decrease our use of plastic water bottles in New York State Parks and reduce litter.”

“This legislation to prohibit the sale of single-use plastic water bottles in state parks managed by the Office of Parks, Recreation, Historic Preservation is a powerful step forward in reducing the ubiquitous plastic waste that, from manufacture to disposal, pollutes our air, water, and land” said Sonia Cairo, Executive Director, Keep Rockland Beautiful.

Senator Reichlin-Melnick and Assemblymember Fahy will be introducing the bill in the coming days.

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