Environmental Policy: Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health (U.S.)

Blog Assignment 4

 

The Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health (BEACH) Act is an environmental policy in the United states that is designed to reduce the risk of disease to users of the nation’s coastal recreation waters. The act authorizes the EPA to award program development and implementation grants to eligible states, territories, tribes, and local governments to support microbiological testing and monitoring of coastal recreational waters. The waters the program works with includes coastal recreational waters, the Great lakes and waters adjacent to beaches or similar points used by the public. The purpose of the BEACH Act is to provide support for developing programs to notify the public of the potential exposure to disease-causing microorganisms in the waters. The act also requires an online system that the program must provide information to the public with; information on pollution occurrences for the waters and state reported beach monitoring data (EPA BEACH Act). I believe the online system is very helpful for informing the residents on when it is unsafe to use or enter the water in their area.

According to EPA’s BEACH Report of Hawaii 2010 Swimming Season, close to all of Hawaii’s coastal waters are considered “beaches” including cliffs, rocky shorelines, or sandy stretches of coastline. So a majority of Hawaii’s coastal waters are monitored through programs that focus on frequency of sampling. But recent budget cuts to the Hawaii Department of Health have drastically affected the monitoring of Oahu Hawaii beaches in particular. The monitoring section lost five employees on the island. After the staffing reduction, certain beaches were not being sampled as often. The island of Oahu went from being monitored and sampled 3 times a week to twice a month. The results of the decrease in monitoring resulted in lowered report actions; less than 1 percent of the time (EPA’s BEACH Report Hawaii). Increases in funding for the programs can get the monitoring and sampling of coastal recreation waters done more frequently. The specific island of Oahu that had funding cut for their program could advocate for other resources such as grants and private funding. I think that is something that would get staff back and increase the awareness of pollution occurrences.

Sources:

“Summary of the Beach Act” Laws and Regulations formed by the EPA

https://www.epa.gov/laws-regulations/summary-beach-act

 

“EPA’s BEACH Report: Hawaii 2010 Swimming Season” composed by the EPA

https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2013-07/documents/hi2010.pdf

Urban Forest Strategy

City: Melbourne

The urban innovation of Urban Forest Strategy in Melbourne was created to help mitigate the effects of climate change and urban heat island effects. Melbourne’s Urban Forest Strategy consists of a program that allows citizens to adopt a tree through social network. In the US Sustainability reading material “Cities, Green infrastructure and health”, the author states that planting trees reduces the city’s urban heat island effect and flood risk, while increasing air and water quality, and active travel (Landscape Institute). Tree planting works towards better health protection; improving availability of quality open/ green space and lowering air pollution (Cities, Green infrastructure and health). This concentrates on the health aspect of sustainable development.

The project’s sustainability goal outcomes are to create healthier ecosystems, engage and involve the community (Urban Forest Strategy). In the article from Emerging Urban Innovations, it supports the positive use of Urban Forest Strategy when discussing studies that show increasing a city’s green area by 10% could compensate for temperature increase caused by climate change. This is because vegetation helps block shortwave radiation while also cooling air (Global Agenda Council on the future of Cities). This is addresses both the environment and health factors of sustainable development.

Since Melbourne faces challenges of climate change, population growth and urban heating, the city encourages its citizens to take pride in urban greenery through its Urban Forest Strategy program. The program consists of over 70,000 trees. The trees are tagged on a database, citizens are able to adopt a tree, name it and track its growth and carbon offset and share data through social networks. Trees cover 22% of Melbourne today, and by 2040 that number is hoped to increase to 40% (Global Agenda Council on the Future of Cities). Melbourne is becoming a global leader in urban forestry which advances their economic sustainable development. A healthy urban forest helps maintain the health of Melbourne and its people. The use of tree tracking through social networks helps citizens feel connected to the project and to their environment! The open availability for anyone to participate in the program appeals to the social equity factor of sustainable development.

 

US Sustainability reading source material: https://us130urbansustainability.files.wordpress.com/2017/01/future-cities-green-infrastructure-health.pdf

Additional resources:

“Top Ten Urban Innovations” prepared by the Global Agenda Council on the Future of Cities: http://www3.weforum.org/docs/Top_10_Emerging_Urban_Innovations_report_2010_20.10.pdf

“Urban Forest Strategy” from the Landscape Institute: http://www.melbourne.vic.gov.au/community/parks-open-spaces/urban-forest/Pages/urban-forest-strategy.aspx

Compostable Products

Project Title: Compostable Products

Project timeline: Estimated 6 months to a year to put into place

Preliminary Project Budget: $25,000

Project Description:

This proposal involves generating less waste through the use of biodegradable compostable products at UIC.

Compostable products are a better option in comparison to non-degradable products. Compostable products will break down in a reasonable amount of time while having released valuable nutrients into the soil that help plants and trees grow. The compostable products degrade within a few months in an industrial composting facility without producing toxic residues (The Green Office).

Here at UIC, the convenience stores in the student centers do not use biodegradable, compostable products. Plates, bowls, cups, bags and utensils are being thrown away in the trash bins all over campus. UIC has a food-scrap composting program for the UIC student center dining halls (UIC Office of Sustainability). This is a great start to composting. We can expand the composting program into working with the campus stores as well. UIC would have to switch over to buying from an eco-friendly company that sells compostable items. With the use of compostable items on campus, the need for compost collection bins arise. These bins could be places next to the recycle/ trash bins all over campus.

UIC waste management would find an industrial composting facility to send the compostable waste to. Switching over to compostable products on campus would help reduce carbon emissions made from trash in landfills. This change would help improve the sustainability at UIC.

Sources:

http://letsgogreen.biz/pages/utensils/platesmain.html

http://sustainability.uic.edu/recycling/#Composting