by Bienvenido Torres, co-editor Perth Amboy Now
This Earth Day April 22, 2020 marks 50 years of the effort to create a global movement to protect the Earth. In these days when we cannot gather and many of us are working from home, we are dramatically seeing a decrease in pollution and an increase in the air quality in our State. NJ air quality is “the cleanest it’s been in years” reported the Star Ledger. North Jersey reported that “we will experience the best air quality seen in our lifetimes.” Though we are facing the worst of times, the silver lining is in cleaner air, which is better for our health, and makes us better able to fight the coronavirus which attacks our lungs. The future of work in telecommuting may continue past the pandemic, and produce more healthy air quality.
In addition to cleaner air, NJ has taken action to ensure safer water. Earlier this April, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection approved one of the nation’s strongest drinking water standards for toxic PFOA and PFOS chemicals. These chemicals are found in industrial areas and were not previously monitored in our water, or had strict standards like the DEP just adopted. NJ’s Sierra Club said “Now that these standards have been adopted, it is important that they are implemented quickly. Water purveyors in New Jersey need to start developing strategies to remove these chemicals from our drinking water.” Perth Amboy leaders can immediately require the company that provides our water to monitor and adhere to the strict DEP drinking water standards for these extremely toxic “forever” chemicals, which are known to have serious health effects on people. We can and should do something to protect the people of Perth Amboy by requiring our water company to immediately follow the DEP standards for clean water.
About the author
Bienvenido “BJ” Torres is a Democratic Committeeman, Chairman of the Perth Amboy Arts Council, and founder and organizer of the Waterfront Neighborhood Association. BJ has served as a Perth Amboy Civic Trustee and produces the “Live at the Ferry Slip” Music Series for Perth Amboy Artworks. He founded Perth Amboy Now with his wife Caroline Pozycki Torres in 2015.