For Immediate Release Contact: Collin Nash or Sid Nathan
May 4, 2011 (516) 869-7794
Town of North Hempstead Receives National Drug Take-Back Award
Second Environmental Honor in Less Than Three Years
New York, NY—With the elation of an award for the Town’s school recycling program still fresh, Supervisor Jon Kaiman, accompanied by Councilman Thomas Dwyer and Town of North Hempstead’s Solid Waste Management Representatives collected the municipality’s second ecological honor in less than three years: the United States EPA’s Environmental Quality Award.
The recipients of the 2011 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Quality Awards spanned locations within the federal agency’s Region 2, from New York and New Jersey to Lake George, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
“It’s important we continue to work hard to protect New York’s environment through innovative and sustainable practices and creative partnerships,” Supervisor Kaiman said after the April 29 awards ceremony at the EPA’s downtown Manhattan headquarters.
The EPA, which granted North Hempstead the award for its Pharmaceutical Collection Program, cited the Town for its “outstanding commitment to protecting and enhancing environmental quality and public health.”
The EPA award marks the second time in recent years that North Hempstead has been recognized for its efforts to protect the environment.
In 2009, North Hempstead was granted the Environmental Excellence Award for its Comprehensive School Recycling Partnership Program, a collaborative effort with nine of the Town’s eleven school districts. To date, the 30,000 students participating three-year-old program have recycled a monthly average of 25 tons of paper and 10 tons of co-mingled recyclables.
Partnering with the Nassau County Police Department, the schools and local pharmacies, North Hempstead hosted the county’s first pharmaceutical disposal event in October 2010. To date, the program has reaped more than 3,000 pounds of expired and unwanted prescription drugs, keeping them out of the drinking water system and landfills.
The drug take back program helps the environment in part by discouraging people from using the typical disposal method, flushing unused pills or dumping them in the solid waste stream.
The EPA reported that, in addition to steroids and antibiotics, more than one hundred pharmaceuticals and personal care products have been identified in drinking water across the country.
Guest Speaker New York Congresswoman Nydia M. Valazquez was also granted an honorary Environmental Quality Award in part for lobbying for the cleanup of the island of Vieques which was used by the US as a testing ground for ordinance.
“Today is about celebrating the strides we have made together in improving our environment,” she told the approximately 300 people in the room. “I am proud of all of you and your accomplishments.”
Congresswoman Nydia Valazques (D-NY 12th District), Supervisor Jon Kaiman, Councilman Thomas Dwyer, Fran Reid, Igor Sikiric, and Judith Enck