New York’s waterways are so polluted with derelict boats filled with trash and other large debris that the city must create a new office to oversee a mass cleanup of longstanding horrors, insist two Queens pols who aim to introduce legislation to do just that.
Councilmen Joann Ariola (R-Queens) and Selvena Brooks-Powers (D-Queens) will introduce their bill on Thursday, demanding that the mayor create an “Office of Marine Debris Removal and Ship Handover” with his own manager and staff dedicated to helping keep the city’s 520 miles of shoreline clean.
Both council members represent neighborhoods overlooking Jamaica Bay, a notorious dumping ground for rogue boat owners and other illegal dumpers.
“There has really been little enforcement by the city in the past, and we hope that an office dedicated to the problem can be of great help,” said Ariola, who estimated that it would cost the city. city about $300,000 to $400,000 to keep the proposed small office afloat.
The Parks Department says it has contracted the removal of more than 300 ships and more than 5,000 cubic meters of debris from waterways over the past six years, but it estimates hundreds of derelict ships are still polluting Big Apple shores. .
In addition to overseeing the hiring of independent contractors to clean up waterways, the bureau would also be tasked with making recommendations on how best for the city to enforce illegal dumping along its shores.
The new office would also help create a program for owners of dilapidated boats to turn ships over to the city for disposal rather than abandoning them to save money.
Dan Mundy Jr., president of Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers, praised the plan, saying abandoned boats lead to fuel and all manner of debris polluting the waters. His group of volunteers and others like him have played a huge role in tracking down and removing derelict ships.
Kate Smart, spokesperson for Mayor Eric Adams, said, “All New Yorkers deserve clean shorelines and waterways. We will review the bill if and when it is introduced.