By Howard Koplowitz
Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced updates to his sustainability plan that contains hundreds of initiatives to help the city brace for an increase of more than 1 million residents by 2030 while reducing greenhouse gases and implementing other green measures.
The plan, known as PlaNYC, was originally launched in 2007 at the Queens Museum of Art, with the newest iteration announced last Thursday at the Harlem Stage.
“Through PlaNYC we learned that the challenges and solutions of managing our growth in a sustainable way interlock with one another,” Bloomberg said. “PlaNYC is our agenda for a greener, greater New York that will help our city to a better future. In four short years, we’ve come an incredibly long way toward our goals, and now together we’re finding new ways to accelerate our progress.”
In the four years since PlaNYC was rolled out, Bloomberg said the city has added hundreds of acres of new parkland, improved existing parks, created or preserved more than 64,000 housing units and reduced greenhouse gases below 2005 levels.
One of the new initiatives announced last week includes the PlaNYC Clean Heat Campaign, which aims to phase out the use of heavy heating oils and convert to cleaner fuels such as natural gas and low-sulfur No. 2 oil.
Bloomberg noted that 86 percent of the soot pollution emanating from buildings is created by just 1 percent of the city’s structures.
The mayor’s office also launched a new social media tool known as Change By Us, in which the city will pose questions — such as how the city can become greener — throughout the year that residents can respond to by text message or through the Change By Us Web and mobile sites.
“The new Change By Us social networking platform lets New Yorkers connect to city agencies and nonprofits that can help them green their neighborhoods and our entire city,” Bloomberg said. “This is a powerful way to connect to people with similar goals that wouldn’t otherwise meet each other, so they can turn their own ideas into action.”
City Councilman James Gennaro (D-Fresh Meadows), chairman of the Council Environmental Protection Committee, commended Bloomberg’s updated plan in a joint statement with Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan) and Council Sanitation and Solid Waste Management Committee Chairwoman Letitia James (D-Brooklyn).
“We’re glad to see that this plan will move us closer to our goal of greenhouse emission reduction, and that it addresses growing concerns about the ways climate change will affect the five boroughs” the councilman said. “Additionally, it recognizes the importance of environmental volunteerism and the ways in which every citizen has a role to play.”
Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 718-260-4573.