There’s no doubt that graffiti in any form is typically frowned upon in our community. However, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has been raising awareness for catch basin cleanliness – and keeping pollution out of New York’s waterways – by installing white stencil signs on thousands of concrete street corners across the city. If you haven’t seen these sentiments locally, they’ve been popping up in Canarsie as part of the DEP’s Harbor Protectors Program, which launched in April 2021.
A DEP representative told the Canarsie Courier that Harbor Protectors (a group of volunteer environmentalists) are the ones who stencil in phrases like “This Is Not A Trash Can!” by catch basins to remind residents not to pour things like household grease and other debris down the sewers. The program to subsequently improve water quality throughout the five boroughs starts with our streets. “Sometimes people pour oils or dump garbage directly into catch basins. Those oils and debris can end up as pollution in nearby waterways. Harbor Protectors stencil an educational message on the sidewalk near a catch basin to remind their neighbors not to dump anything there,” the DEP’s website noted. So, before you carelessly throw your waste into the streets near your home, take it to a proper receptacle so it doesn’t wind up washing ashore on our beaches. Do your part and be environmentally smart!