Trash spilling out of Transmitter Park garbage cans and piling up on Greenpoint streets is not only bad for the environment it’s an eyesore that degrades the quality of life, according to Greenpoint-based fashion photographer Christina Emilie, who is organizing a volunteer cleanup in the neighborhood this weekend.
“Litter is something I’ve always acknowledged and felt strongly about. I’ve always been passionate about the environment,” she said.
After noticing an increase in the amount of litter during spring as more people emerged from coronavirus quarantine, Emilie says that she turned her frustrations into action.
“Just the last few months, with everything escalating, I finally hit a breaking point where I knew I needed to step outside of my walls and start making changes in my neighborhood,” Emilie said.
Near the end of May, she incorporated solo trash cleanups into her daily routine while sharing her Transmitter Park cleanup progress through Instagram photos, gaining the attention of like-minded neighbors who asked if they could join.
“Right away I knew I needed to to see how I could organize something and to continue to relay this message of why I initiated picking up trash in the first place,” Emilie says.
Viewing the world through a camera lens in her professional life, Emilie says that there’s a simple beauty to cherish in everyday surroundings, and that the volunteer cleanup initiative helps to bring out the best in people during an otherwise stressful and isolated time for humanity.
McGolrick Park is also experiencing a garbage can overflow problem, especially on weekends, and residents nearby requested Emilie organize a similar cleanup there.
“McCarren is usually good because it’s a state park, but it’s the city parks that are having the bigger issues and Transmitter is one of them,” she said. “And for the amount of people that are now enjoying the summer and the weather due to COVID it’s just been an overflow of the bins.”
The problem is also pronounced in Long Island City parks, according to Hunters Point Parks Conservancy. “A confluence of factors, including perfect weather for hanging out in parks the last few weeks, have led to our parks on the waterfront, Gantry Plaza State Park and Hunter’s Point South Park, being overwhelmed with visitors and an overabundance of trash,” HPCC posted on social media on Wednesday along with photos of overflowing public garbage cans.
Approximately 30 local volunteers, including Assemblyman Joe Lentol, showed up last Saturday at Transmitter Park to help with a cleanup, and Emilie has since started the Instagram account @echoed_voices to share updates and future cleanup events.
The next Transmitter Park cleanup is scheduled for Saturday, June 20, at 10 a.m., and volunteers will meet near the new Black Live Matter mural and should bring masks, trash bags and gloves if possible, Emilie says.