Is the Waterfront Gone?

Sean Mertens, Guest Writer

We all have memories of the waterfront, whether walking our dog or going for a jog, but unfortunately, new generations might not get to experience this natural landscape. 



There has been a huge build up of trash on the waterfront for years. We all see plastic bottles and bags washed up on the rocks threatening the well being of our parks such as the “waterfront park” in Dobbs Ferry and “Maceachron Park” in Hastings. If we don’t do something soon it may never be the same. 

One thing we can do is pass legislation that will fine those who litter our pathways with Aquafina water bottles and plastic Dorito bags. In New York City, the city council passed Initiative 54 in September of 2011 which created a civil penalty for dumping trash into the waterways. Fines were set at no less than $1,500, or more than $10,000 for the first violation, and between $5,000 and $20,000 for each subsequent violation. If New York City can do it, then why can’t the River Towns?

Now let’s play a game called Guess How Much Trash Has Been in the Hudson River. Is it 100 pounds, 200 pounds, 1000 pounds? The answer is none of the above. According to Westchester Magazine there has been 1.3 million pounds of garbage in the river over the course of thirty years due to pollution from General Electric and personal dumping. 

What are we doing wrong? Even comedians seem to be poking fun at the situation. Late Night Talk Show Host Stephen Colbert said, “Let freedom ka-ching…Corporations do everything people do except breathe, die and go to jail for dumping 1.3 million pounds of PCBs in the Hudson River.” If celebrities are even noticing the problem, why are our community governments not? Or at least they seem to not be doing anything about it. These are questions we should be asking, but we never ask them. We go along with our days like nothing is happening. 

Now let us imagine the waterfront in all it’s beauty. The birds are singing. There are children playing in the park. Its natural beauty is free from the heinous site of soda cans and candy wrappers. Let’s give this gift back to ourselves and all future generations. We can preserve this vision if we all take the necessary action of keeping our waterfront clean and urge our mayors and town councils to protect our parks from this disgusting threat.