Students from Cafeteria Culture’s COMMUNITY ARTS+MEDIA FOR TRASH FREE WATERS program are taking the lead in their East Flatbush, Brooklyn neighborhood to reduce single-use plastic litter at the source!
These 7th grade students from MS246 Walt Whitman, first learned how our local plastic street litter can become deadly, toxic and polluting litter in our oceans due to our combined sewer overflow systems. Next, they collected litter and litter data - on specific blocks near the school and then at Jamaica Bay - giving students the opportunity to actually witness the connection between street and beach litter.
Interviewing neighbors came next, providing students with a local perspective on just how much litter bothers everyone!
With their data and local knowledge, students designed a local campaign for reducing litter upstream, before it enters our local waterways, focusing on plastic bag use on the very same blocks where they conducted their surveys. Students handed out free reusable bags to the passersby, explained why it is important to reduce plastic litter and asked recipients to pledge to carry their new bags with them and to say "no" to single-us elastic bags.
Next, they designed beautiful and poignant banners and hung them outdoors on the school fence to educate passersby.
After the campaign, students collected street litter data once again on the same blocks. The data showed that their efforts had reduced plastic bag litter by 50%!
Join the campaign! Bring reusable bags today and everyday!
"It’s a little thing that we’re doing but it’s going to help the community a whole lot.” (Cyian, grade 7, MS 246)
"I actually made a difference today, even though it’s a small difference” Nahum, grade 7, MS246)
80% of ocean plastic comes from land., And plastic is now found everywhere, even in the Arctic and in over 600 species of marine wildlife (Ocean Conservancy), from the tiniest plankton eating plastic to the gigantic whales.
Since 1975, plastic production has increased by 620% and is expected to double in 10 years.
Recent studies estimate that by the year 2050 there will be more plastic—by weight—than fish in the ocean.
When it rains as lithe as 1/10 of an inch in New York City, the sewer system's capacity gets overwhelmed. Plastic street litter along with raw sewage from our toilets and sinks, can flow directly into our local waterways and then into our oceans, endangering marine wildlife.
Plastic marine litter is a local and global plight, adding to a multitude of climate stressors that threaten marine wildlife, the health of our oceans and public health. Microplastics, tiny bits of plastic, are now found everywhere in our oceans and in our food web.
Watch this video. Be inspired and say NO to single use plastics and find out what makes Cafeteria Culture's environmental education programs truly unique. Then give the gift of creative environmental education to more underserved New York City youth!
Make your donation here: cafeteriaculture.org/donat...
Cafeteria Culture's Community Arts+Media for Trash Free Waters program was generously funded by a NY/NJ Aquatic Prevention 2016 Grant awarded by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 2 and the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission (NEIWPCC).
Additional support was provided by:
Fund for the City of New York,
and individual donors like you!
Project partners were:
NYC Department of Education Schools
- PS/MS 34 Franklin D Roosevelt - Alphabet City, Manhattan
- PS 15 The Patrick F. Daly Magnet School of the Arts, Red Hook, Brooklyn
- MS 246 Walt Whitman, East Flatbush, Brooklyn
and the 3 respective neighboring communities.
- New York City Department of Environmental Protection, Education
- Brooklyn College, Earth and Environmental Sciences Brooklyn and CUNY Graduate Center
Special thanks to:
- Ms. Elena Wilson, ELA Teacher, and
- Mr. Trevon Adams, Science teacher, and
- Our amazing partner students at MS 246 Walt Whitman!
- Ms. Teresa Cunningham, NYC Department of Sanitation, Brooklyn Community Engagement
- Mr. Dan Meharg, Education Specialist/Park Ranger, Gateway National Recreation Area, National Park Service
- Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, Gateway National Park Recreation Area
- Dr. Brett Branco, Professor Dept of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Brooklyn College and CUNY Graduate Center.
- Ms. Lisa Scheppke, restoration Project Coordinator, American Littoral Society
- Ms. Carmen Martinez, NYC Community Board 9, Brooklyn
- Brooklyn Public Library, East Flatbush Branch
- Teyito Deli, Matthew and family
- Focus Camera
This video is directed and edited by Atsuko Satake Quirk, Cafeteria Culture, Media Director