Babylon residents gathered Saturday under cloudy skies for its sixth annual Earth Day Celebration. One popular topic of conversation throughout the day: poop.
More specifically, how bacteria from animal waste and droppings can pollute our water supply by being swept up in stormwater runoff, such as when it rains or snow melts. Five years ago, the town began educating residents about the problem and started giving dog owners free pooper scoopers to encourage them to abide by the towns rules of cleaning up after their pets.
Alisa Ardisana, of Lindenhurst, received her complimentary pooper scooper at the Earth Day event and said it will make her more diligent about cleaning up after her dog.
“I think it is great they are giving them out; it makes it so much easier to pick up,” she said.
That is the goal, said Babylon Commissioner Victoria Russell: make it easy for residents so everyone can pitch in and help keep the Earth – and water supply – clean.
Another storm water pollutant in the area is goose droppings. While the town is continuing to chase geese away from local parks with dogs to prevent the droppings, Robert Frost Middle School student Gianna Locker wrote an essay on the use of goose droppings as fertilizer.
Locker’s essay won her the grand prize in the 2012 Babylon Covantage Ecotech Scholarship contest. She was recognized at Saturday’s event along with the other scholarship winners.
Residents strolled among booths manned by vendors and organizations learning about storm water filtration systems, ways to carpool to work, how to make their homes greener and reduce the use of pesticides. Girls Scout troops also did arts and crafts using recycled materials, such as necklaces with the tops of soda cans as pendants.
“Our goal is to raise awareness of what everyone can do to help,” said Rich Groh, chief environmental analyst in the Department of Environmental Control for the town. “Whether it be by reducing the use of fertilizers, picking up after their dog or using our reusable bags made out of all plastic bottles.”
Town Supervisor Rich Schaffer said the town has been taking great strides in learning how best to take care of its small corner of the Earth, and he encouraged the crowd to do the same.
“Listen to all the ideas here today and keep them in mind all year round,” he said. “Not just for one day.”