City DEP Commissioner: 'We Remind People To Clean Up Their Litter'

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Some beachgoers are finding more than sand between their toes at some New York City beaches.

The city, along with the federal Environmental Protection Agency, launched the “Clean Streets=Clean Beaches” program from Coney Island on Tuesday in an effort to keep trash from reaching ocean.

Shani Newsome from the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn said she finds more than she bargains for at some local beaches.

“Some of my kids just said they were digging up cigarettes,” she told WCBS 880’s Monica Miller. “They’re polluted with a lot of glass and a lot of not-so-nice things.”

“Even with me being a resident of Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, I still drive to Jones Beach,” Newsome added.

The city has hired 100 young New Yorkers to help clean up trash on surrounding streets and storm drains that end up in the ocean.

“We remind people to clean up their litter. And one consequence of littering is that it can get to the beaches,” New York City Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Carter Strickland told Miller. “People don’t think about it and they think that it’s a harmless activity. Of course, it makes the street look bad but also can end up on the beach where they spend their weekends.”

And even though superstorm Sandy hit almost nine months ago there’s still a lot of work to be done.

“There’s a lot of programs where we’re still doing basic clean-up after Sandy,” said Strickland. “We test our water 500,000 times a year to make sure that it is clean and people can avail themselves at their tap.”

Strickland suggests using reusable bottles and bags to help keep the beaches clean.

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