On March 16th, The New School community was invited to join the Trash Free Waters Partnership Meeting to hear from local experts about ongoing efforts to reduce plastic debris in our waterways, including a presentation by New School faculty Barent Roth.
The TFW Partnership NY/NJ, formerly led by EPA Region 2, is a collaborative effort across public, private, & nonprofit sectors to reduce plastic debris in all waterbodies. TFW is made up of over 100 organizations, including government agencies (municipal, state, federal, international), not for profits, for profits, and higher education, with 6 active workgroups: bags, bottles, microplastics, to-go boxes, straws, messaging, and a Steering Group.
The TFW program incorporates a strategic approach to support land-based aquatic trash prevention and reduction initiatives through the actions of public, private, and nonprofit stakeholders in the form of the NJ/NY TFW Partnership. The TFW program serves as a catalyst for issue analysis, facilitated dialogue, strategic planning, and program implementation, and the Partnership places a strong emphasis on stakeholder collaboration; specifically, it seeks to help states, municipalities, academia, NGOs, and businesses work together to develop innovative aquatic trash reduction strategies and projects in targeted geographic areas, approaching zero-loading of trash into Regional waters by 2025.
Parson’s Assistant Professor, Barent Roth, showcased his most recent research project labeled, TestingOurWaters.net. The Testing Our Waters project offers a multi-pronged, design-centered approach to reducing the accumulation of plastics in local waterways and international oceans through active community engagement and policy change. Professor Roth and his team have been designing Do It Yourself (DIY) trawls for citizen scientists to make and use in their nearby marine environments. Pollution collected in the trawls are then documented via a smartphone application and uploaded to a website platform. Professor Roth hopes that the results will build an online engaged community, regularly notify environmental stewards of the problem, and propose policy changes.