Water Protection Groups Announce Multi-Pronged Effort Designed to Curb Use of Lawn Pesticides and High Nitrogen Fertilizers
A broad coalition of non-profit and community groups has announced the creation of a public awareness campaign to reduce the use of chemical pesticides and high nitrogen fertilizers on Long Island. The "I Love Long Island" campaign is designed to provide the citizens of Long Island with a simple and effective way they can help reduce pollution of its ground and surface waters.
"We know that what we put on our lawns goes into our groundwater, and eventually into our drinking water and our bays, rivers and ponds. Pesticides are toxic by definition, and lawn fertilizers contribute to the devastating algal blooms and fish kills we're seeing around Long Island," says Marshall Brown, President of Save the Great South Bay and one of the architects of the campaign. "We're asking people to take the simple step of eliminating those pollutants at their source - their lawns."
The "I Love Long Island" campaign is a multi-dimensional program that includes yard signs for homeowners, in-store signage for participating retailers, and a Pledge not to use pesticides or high nitrogen fertilizers. Pledges and buttons will be distributed through dozens of local organizations this spring. Residents can also sign the Pledge online at the campaign website, www.ILoveLongIsland.org.
“People need to understand that going chemical-free doesn’t mean sacrificing a beautiful lawn and landscape,” says Edwina von Gal, founder and President of the Perfect Earth Project. “We’ve proven that anyone can create a landscape that is not only aesthetically appealing, but also completely safe for people, pets and the environment.”
"Pesticides and high nitrogen fertilizers are having an undeniable negative impact on the quality of our water," says Chris Quartuccio, President of the Blue Island Oyster Farm and a founder of Operation Blue Earth. "The quality of that water has a direct bearing on the economic well-being of the Island, and the quality of life we all enjoy here."
A growing number of local landscape contractors are offering non-chemical lawn programs; a list of participating landscapers is available on the campaign website, together with a list of local retailers that carry non-toxic lawn care products.
"We know that pesticides are harmful to everyone, especially children and pets, and excess nitrogen is contaminating our water," says Patti Wood, Executive Director of Grassroots Environmental Education, one of the originating sponsors of the campaign. "We don't need to raise millions of dollars or wait for legislation to fix this part of our water problem. This is something we can do right now."