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Queens politicians want to rid NYC waters of abandoned boats

New York’s waterways are so polluted with abandoned, garbage-crammed boats and other large debris that the city must set up a new bureau to oversee a mass cleanup of the long-standing eyesore, insist two Queens police officers aiming to introduce legislation to do just that.

Councilwomen Joann Ariola (R-Queens) and Selvena Brooks-Powers (D-Queens) will present their bill on Thursday, which would require the mayor to set up an “Office for Marine Debris Disposal and Vessel Handover” with its own director and employees dedicated to preserving the city’s 520 miles of clean shorelines.

Both council members represent neighborhoods overlooking Jamaica Bay, a notorious dumping ground for renegade boat owners and other illegal dumpers.

“There has been really little enforcement by the city in the past, and we hope that an office dedicated to addressing this issue can be of great help,” said Ariola, who estimated it would cost the city about $300,000 to $400,000. dollars to keep the proposed small office afloat.

Councilwoman Joann Ariola will present the new bill on Thursday.
Councilwoman Joann Ariola will introduce the new bill on Thursday.
Dennis A Clark for the NY Post

The Parks Department says it has commissioned the removal of more than 300 vessels and more than 5,000 cubic yards of debris from waterways over the past six years, but estimates hundreds of abandoned vessels still pollute the Big Apple’s shores.

In addition to overseeing the hiring of independent contractors to clean up waterways, the office would also be responsible for making recommendations on how best the city could enforce illegal dumping along its shores.

The new office would also help create a program that would allow owners of dilapidated boats to hand over the city’s vessels for disposal, rather than abandoning them to save money.

The Parks Department said it had commissioned the removal of more than 300 vessels in the past six years.
The Parks Department said it had commissioned the removal of more than 300 vessels in the past six years.
Courtesy of the Office of Councilwomen Joann Ariola

Dan Mundy Jr., president of Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers, welcomed the plan, saying abandoned boats lead to fuel and all sorts of debris polluting the waters. His volunteer group and others like them have played a huge part in locating and removing abandoned ships.

Kate Smart, a spokeswoman for Mayor Eric Adams, said, “All New Yorkers deserve to enjoy clean shorelines and waterways. We will review the bill if and when it is introduced.”

https://nypost.com/2022/04/23/queens-politicians-want-to-rid-nyc-waters-of-abandoned-boats/ Queens politicians want to rid NYC waters of abandoned boats

JACLYN DIAZ

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