Archive for the ‘ Environment ’ Category

filed under: Environment | general assembly

Statewide Plastic Bag Ban Hearing

5PM ON 18/03/2014
BY Daily Dose

tree bag (3.20) The Rhode Island House of Representatives Environment and Natural Resources Committee is hearing a bill that would ban plastic bags statewide. Tim Faulkner writes at ecoRI:

For the second straight year, Rep. Maria Cimini, D-Providence, has sponsored the Plastic Waste Reduction Act, a bill that would ban retailers from offering most checkout plastic bags.

The ban would apply to plastic bags offered at point of sale, including take-out food. The ban doesn’t apply to produce and frozen-food bags, dry-cleaning bags, newspaper sleeves or bags bigger than 28 by 36 inches. This year’s bill omits a fee on paper checkout bags.

Channing Jones, campaign director with Environment Rhode Island, led a signature drive submitting a petition to lawmakers with another 10,000 signatures from Rhode Island supporters of such a ban. The plastic bag lobby will be there (talking about how germy tote bags get?). If you want to participate or just show support, contact Mr. Jones at cjones@environmentrhodeisland.org. Or go here to sign an online petition — Protect the Bay, Ban the Bag. Speakers should arrive at 4pm to coordinate.

Meeting 4:30pm to 6:30pm-ish, Thursday, March 20, Room 101, State House, 82 Smith Street


filed under: Environment | Science

Polymers Are Forever — Ban The Plastic Bag

5PM ON 25/01/2014
BY Daily Dose

plastic bag Tree bags are bad enough, but the plastic bags that find their way into Narragansett Bay and the ocean present a much greater environmental hazard. Environment Rhode Island is spearheading the effort to ban plastic bags in Rhode Island.

On Thursday, State Rep. Maria Cimini (Providence) introduced a bill in the Rhode Island House of Representatives to ban plastic bags statewide. The bill prohibits the distribution of disposable plastic shopping bags at the point of sale by Rhode Island retailers, effective January 2015 for large retailers and January 2016 for small businesses. The introduction comes one day after advocacy group Environment Rhode Island delivered over 10,000 public comments to state lawmakers in support of a plastic bag ban in Rhode Island.

For more on the persistence of plastic in the environment please read “Polymers are Forever” by Alan Weisman in which Dr. Anthony Andrady, senior research scientist at North Carolina’s Research Triangle notes, “Except for a small amount that’s been incinerated, every bit of plastic manufactured in the world for the last fifty years or so still remains. It’s somewhere in the environment.” That is estimated to be roughly 1 billion tons, and counting.

Weisman’s article was first published in 2007 and the news keeps getting worse. Recent studies in the Great Lakes have shown that “Tiny plastic beads used in hundreds of toiletries like facial scrubs and toothpastes are slipping through water treatment plants and turning up by the tens of millions in the Great Lakes.” (NYT 12.14.13) And all these little bits of plastic act as toxic sponges that travel up the food chain. NPR recently did a report on “How plastic in the ocean is contaminating your seafood.”

So kudos to State Rep. Maria Cimini (Providence) for re-introducing the bill to ban plastic bags. It’s a start. Says Channing Jones, campaign director with Environment Rhode Island, “Nothing we use for five minutes should pollute the Bay for future generations.”


filed under: Activism | Environment

‘Draw The Line’ Against Keystone Pipeline Protest

9AM ON 20/09/2013
BY Beth Comery

draw_the_line (9.21) On Saturday, September 21st, environmental and community groups — Rhode Island Student Climate Coalition, Sierra Club, Fossil Free Rhode Island, Brown Divest Coal Campaign, and concerned citizens — will march from City Hall to the Rhode Island State House to demand comprehensive climate change legislation as part of a national day of action to stop the Keystone XL Pipeline.

Rhode Island activists, students, and community members will march as part of a national day of action from City Hall to the State House at 12:45pm on Saturday to demand that the Rhode Island legislature pass comprehensive climate legislation. The action will be one of thousands demanding President Obama deny the permit for Keystone XL tar sands pipeline in the most widespread day of action to date in the campaign to stop the disastrous project. At the State House, protesters will draw the line on climate action by linking arms in front of the State House, symbolizing the need for RI representatives to act to greatly reduce carbon emissions and mitigate the increasingly serious impacts of climate change in Rhode Island communities.

For more on the mysterious tar sands spills plaguing Alberta, Canada, go to July’s report on NPR. For an update on the Arkansas tar sands disaster go here. And if you haven’t watched “Gasland Part 2″ do it now. (Photo by Shadia Fayne Wood)

March from City Hall to State House, 12:45pm to 1:10pm, Saturday, September 21st, directions to City Hall


filed under: Environment | Transportation

Air Quality Alert

8PM ON 23/06/2013
BY Daily Dose

ripta (6.24/25) The Department of Environmental Management has declared Monday, June 24, an Air Quality Alert Day. [Extended through Tuesday, June 25.]

The Department of Health warns that unhealthy levels of ozone can cause throat irritation, coughing, chest pain, shortness of breath, increased susceptibility to respiratory infection and  aggravation of asthma and other respiratory ailments.  These symptoms are worsened by exercise and heavy activity.  The children, elderly and people who have underlying lung diseases, such as asthma, are at particular risk of suffering from these effects.  As ozone levels increase, the number of people affected and the severity of the health effects also increase.

So nobody exercise. Also, all RIPTA regular fixed-routes, excluding special services, will be free.


filed under: Environment |

Eagles Eating Seagulls — Swan Point Cemetery

10PM ON 23/01/2013
BY Ben Jones

swanpoint (1.27) Join the RI Sierra Club at the Swan Point Cemetery on the East Side of Providence for an unconventional outing. When the Blackstone river freezes over, seagulls huddle together in the unfrozen water surrounding a local waste water treatment plant that you can see from Swan Point cemetery. These seagulls act as easy prey for eagles which swoop down and catch them. Come see nature in action!

Park on Blackstone Boulevard in Providence near the entrance to Swan Point Cemetery. Meet near the pile of rocks at the entrance at 8:15am Sunday morning. Light hike on even trails. 8:30am to 10:00am.


filed under: Environment | Fox Point

Clean Water Action At The Hot Club

11PM ON 10/10/2012
BY Daily Dose

Clean Water Action (10.11) An invitation from Clean Water Action:

Join CWA at the Hot Club on Thursday, October 11th to get ready for the most important election in years.

Electoberfest is your chance to support Clean Water Action, meet other clean water activists, and get ready to make a difference for our environment and communities on November 6th. Plus there will be snacks and we’re debuting a special Clean Water beer.

The candidates we elect this year will decide issues ranging from investments in public transportation to the protection of our drinking water supply, and from successful recycling to the prevention of air pollution during the next Congress and state legislative session. We need strong pro-environment elected officials who are committed to improving our quality of life to make the best choices for all Rhode Islanders.

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse will attend. A donation of $25 is suggested. RSVP at Facebook.

5:30pm to 7:30pm, Thursday, October 11, Hot Club, 575 South Water Street


filed under: Environment | recycling

Recycling Plastic Bags Etc.

1PM ON 07/10/2012
BY Daily Dose

goddam it The ‘Trash Tutorial’ column in the ProJo — written by Sarah Kite, director of recycling services at the Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation (RIRRC) — is archived at the the RIRRC website along with other relevant columns.

In yesterday’s column, Kite took up the subject of plastic bags . . . and other plasticky things. First, Rhode Islands’ ReStore law states that the larger retail establishments of goods and food “must provide plastic bag recycling to the public.” You can not recycle your plastic bags in your home recycling bin; you have to take them back to the store.

Recent additions to the plastic bag recycling program include: bubble wrap, pellet bags, cereal box liners, newspaper sleeves, dry cleaner film, bread and bagel bags, shrink wrap, pallet wrap, and airpacks (those air-filled bladders used in shipping — pop ‘em first).

And overdue kudos to the Barrington Town Council for passing an ordinance banning the use of plastic bags (ecoRI News). It includes a sunset provision and will thus expire in two years; but by then everyone will have adapted. Leaving a tote or two in your car is so easy and then you get to be that smug bastard in the check-out line. Everybody loves that guy. The Shaw’s in Barrington didn’t wait to be told; they just went ahead and pulled the plastic check-out bags from the store on their own initiative. Your turn Eastside Marketplace.


filed under: Environment | Good Ideas

Mattresses And E-Waste Drop-Off

9PM ON 21/09/2012
BY Daily Dose

e-waste (9.22) From the Department of Public Works:

On Saturday, September 22, city residents may drop off old mattresses and e-waste at George J. West School located at 145 Beaufort Street between 8am and 11am.

Residents are invited to drop off mattresses, old TVs, computers, printers, microwaves, stereos, keyboards, phones and other electronic wastes.

8am to 11am, Saturday, September 22, West School, 145 Beaufort Street (directions)


filed under: Environment | Local Yokels

Strange But True — Republicans Created The EPA

10PM ON 18/09/2012
BY Beth Comery

beavertailHard to believe that this is the same party now sneering at the rising sea levels (somebody tell Romney that the U.S. Navy is not laughing). Today the New York Times reported the death at age 92 of renowned conservationist and advocate Russell E. Train.

Mr. Train developed the idea of establishing the Council on Environmental Quality, a policy office within the White House. He also helped persuade the Nixon administration to create the Environmental Protection Agency, empowered to execute and regulate the nation’s new program of safeguarding natural resources and protecting public health.

“I felt strongly that environmental issues needed a sharp, cutting edge in government, one that had high visibility to the public,” Mr. Train recalled in his 2003 memoir, “Politics, Pollution, and Pandas.” And, he wrote, “this view finally prevailed.”

Train was also a founding member of the African Wildlife Leadership Foundation and the World Wildlife Fund’s United States affiliate. Talk about your endangered species — Republican environmentalists have got to top that list.

(Pictured here is Beavertail in Jamestown, Train’s birthplace! Well, not right on the rocks, but . . . you know.)


filed under: Environment | Transportation

Air Quality Alert Day — Free Bus Rides, Trolleys

8PM ON 30/08/2012
BY Daily Dose

trolley (8.31) From RIPTA,

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management is predicting that air quality will reach unhealthy levels in Rhode Island especially in central and southern sections in the afternoon on Friday, August 31. A very humid air mass with southwest winds will be present at that time, which will lead to unhealthy air conditions. The poor air quality will be due to elevated ground level ozone concentrations.  Ozone is a major component of smog and is formed by the photochemical reaction of pollutants emitted by motor vehicles, industry and other sources in the presence of elevated temperatures and sunlight.

All RIPTA regular fixed-routes, excluding special services, will be free on “AIR QUALITY ALERT DAYS.” Just hop on and hop off.

How can you help? Limit driving, reduce idling, no mowing the lawn, and limit barbecue emissions. In other words, lay about the house all day long and don’t do a damn thing, and you get to say you’re helping the environment.


filed under: Environment | Transportation

‘Air Quality Alert Day’ Tuesday — Free Bus And Trolley

3PM ON 16/07/2012
BY Daily Dose

ripta trolley (7.17) All regular RIPTA buses and trolleys, but excluding special services, will be free on Tuesday, July 17. Hop on, hop off.

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management is predicting that air quality will reach unhealthy levels in Rhode Island. . . A very hot and very humid air mass with west winds will be present at that time, which will lead to unhealthy air conditions. The poor air quality will be due to elevated ground level ozone concentrations. Ozone is a major component of smog and is formed by the photochemical reaction of pollutants emitted by motor vehicles, industry and other sources in the presence of elevated temperatures and sunlight.


filed under: Environment | Transportation

Air Quality Alert Day

1PM ON 07/07/2012
BY Daily Dose

RIPTA (7.7) The Department of Environmental Management (DEM) has issued an ozone alert health advisory for Saturday, July 7. The DEM predicts,

. . .  that air quality will reach unhealthy levels in Rhode Island, but especially in southern sections again in the afternoon on Saturday. A very hot and very humid air mass with southwest winds will be present at that time, which will lead to unhealthy air conditions. The poor air quality will be due to elevated ground level ozone concentrations. Ozone is a major component of smog and is formed by the photochemical reaction of pollutants emitted by motor vehicles, industry and other sources in the presence of elevated temperatures and sunlight.

All RIPTA routes, excluding special services, will be free on Saturday, July 7.


filed under: Environment | Transportation

Air Quality Alert Wednesday, June 20 [Ditto Thursday]

10PM ON 19/06/2012
BY Daily Dose

RIPTA Here comes summer. The Department of Environmental Management (DEM) has issued an ozone alert health advisory for Wednesday, June 20. The DEM predicts,

. . . that air quality will reach unhealthy levels in most of Rhode Island, but especially in southern sections in the afternoon on Wednesday. A very hot and very humid air mass with west to southwest winds will be present at that time, which will lead to unhealthy air conditions. The poor air quality will be due to elevated ground level ozone concentrations. Ozone is a major component of smog and is formed by the photochemical reaction of pollutants emitted by motor vehicles, industry and other sources in the presence of elevated temperatures and sunlight.

All RIPTA routes, excluding special services, will be free on Wednesday, June 20 — and again Thursday, June 21.


filed under: Environment |

Latest Providence Water Quality Report

2PM ON 16/06/2012
BY Beth Comery

glass of waterThe second best way to quench your thirst in Providence? Tap water. The 2011 Consumer Confidence Report (CCR) from the Providence Water Supply Board (PWSB) has been arriving in mailboxes around town. Thousands of water samples are tested every year and the Scituate Reservoir is still cranking out the good stuff. (Elevated levels of lead triggered an earlier mailing, but this is more a problem of contact with old pipes and plumbing components. Lead pipe water service connections are being replaced all over to help with that, and there are things you can do in your own home.)

But here is the part of the brochure I find galling; the section “Tap vs. Bottled Water” starts,

Did you know that if you drank your recommended eight glasses of water a day from bottled water, it would cost up to $1400 for a year’s supply? That same amount of tap water would cost only about $0.50.

While I am thrilled to have people examining their bottled water purchases, can we once and for all put a stake through the heart of this “eight glasses of water a day” myth.  Who exactly has been “recommending” this?  Are there any scientific medical studies backing up this claim? No, it is the purveyors of bottled water who keep this going. (HuffPo 7.14.11)

The health recommendation to drink six to eight glasses of water a day is “thoroughly debunked nonsense,” a doctor wrote this week in a commentary in the British Medical Journal.

more »


filed under: Environment | recycling

New Rules — Recycling

10AM ON 03/06/2012
BY Beth Comery

Recyclables Rhode Islanders may adopt the new recycling guidelines as soon as they receive in the mail the Resource Recovery brochure (and useful refrigerator magnet) says state recycling coordinator Sarah Kite. (Mark Reynolds writes all about the new system and changes to the plant itself in the Thursday ProJo.) For complete information on what’s the same, and what’s changed go to RecycleTogetherRI.org.

The biggest change is that all approved recyclables — paper, plastics, metals, glass — can now go into the same bin, either bin, as long as they are separate from the trash. No more sorting.

Another change, more plastics are recyclable: jelly jars, butter tubs, yogurt containers, shampoo bottles, and more.

One thing has not changed — no plastic bags! Those go back to the supermarket or big box store. And just stop using them. Speaking of which — hooray for the city of Los Angeles now “taking the first step toward joining nearly four dozen other California municipalities in outlawing them.” (HuffPo.)


filed under: Environment |

Get Your Spring On — Saturday Hike In The Great Swamp

12PM ON 24/05/2012
BY Ben Jones

vernal pool frog If you’re regretting that it’s almost Memorial Day and you still haven’t taken that awesome hike you’ve been meaning to, join RI Sierra Club on their annual Vernal Pools outing down in the Great Swamp this Saturday (May 26) afternoon led by Sierra Club’s own Abel Collins.

You can meet at the Great Swamp parking area off Great Neck road at 4pm, or caravan from the Sierra Club’s office at Anchor at 42 Rice Street, behind Firehouse 13.

Should be about an hour and a half of non-strenuous, checking-out-nature ambling.

If you have questions or need more info, check out the Rhode Island Sierra Club’s outings page, or send an email to outings@risierraclub.org.


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