Khamari, 5th grade, PS 15 Patrick F Daly, Red Hook, Brooklyn
Good Data Drives Policy In 2017, fourth graders at PS 15 in Red Hook collected street litter and litter data in the same area in three different litter surveys in their neighborhood.
After the first two litter surveys, the students used the data they collected to create graphs and charts to measure the kinds and amounts of litter in this area.
Students used their data to convince the the Department of Sanitation to place one set of street recycling bins as a pilot in the area where they conducted their street litter surveys.
The students made compelling arguments that much of the street litter they found could be recycled if a set of recycling bins were available in this area. The DSNY was moved by their data and have promised that they will provide bins in the fall when the students find community partners who will tend the bins and keep them neat and emptied daily.
The students also conducted bag giveaways, where they gave both reusable bags they made themselves from discarded t-shirts as well as reusable bags from DSNY. They performed plays that illustrated the health problems that plastic litter poses on marine life and ultimately humans. Finally, students created beautiful posters that they hung on the fence along the area of their litter survey to help educate their neighbors about the connection between street litter and dangerous marine pollution and to persuade them to reduce litter on their streets
During the last litter survey, the students discovered that the litter was reduced by 2/3 after all of their community outreach and messaging efforts!
This project was brought to fruition through a close collaboration between PS 15, Patric F. Daly School, and the oganization Cafeteria Culture.
This was not the only effort for cleaner water by the students of PS 15. On December 13, 2017, fifth graders went to City Hall to testify on the urgency of NYC to improve the Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) system to keep dangerous plastic street litter from entering our oceans. See the video of the students journey and testimony produced by Cafeteria Culture.
Students of PS 15 and Cafeteria Culture's Plastic Free Waters program, were back at it on World Oceans Day, 2018. They presented their research on toxic and polluting plastic foam (styrofoam) to the New York City Council and the Mayor and urged the ban of foam. See Cafeteria Culture's blog for pictures and more details of the day.