ELIZABETH – The city of Elizabeth has been named one of the 50 greenest cities in America by Popular Science magazine. The environmentally friendly designation placed Elizabeth 45th among cities with a population of more than 100,000 residents.
“This honor is a direct result of coordinating and implementing green initiatives throughout our city,” said Mayor Chris Bollwage. “In collaboration with dedicated environmental organizations, the city has incorporated numerous green programs and projects that are improving our environment and the quality of life for generations to come.”
To determine the greenest cities, Popular Science used raw data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the National Geographic Society’s Green Guide, which collected survey data and government statistics for American cities of over 100,000 people in more than 30 categories. Statistics were condensed and compiled into four broad categories including: electricity, transportation, green living, and recycling/green prospective. Popular Science developed a scoring system in each category to decide a city’s place in the rankings. Elizabeth was the only city in New Jersey to make the list.
City officials attribute the national ranking to the implementation of diverse programs and strategies that have set the stage for a greener, more environmentally friendly community. Eco-friendly partners have also helped improve the city’s environment.
Groundwork Elizabeth is one such partner which has helped bring about sustained regeneration, improvement and management of the city’s physical environment. Since their establishment in October 2003, Groundwork Elizabeth has restored recreational parks, landscaped blighted areas, planted more than 1,000 new trees and created the first-ever Elizabeth “Nature Guide” with students from their Green Team program. Projects such as the Elizabeth River Trail will connect Midtown to the city’s waterfront and offer a safe, environmentally friendly, recreational path for families to enjoy.
Future City Inc. is another eco-partner located within the bustling Midtown area of Elizabeth. The community-based organization educates and assists residents in policy formation in order to ensure positive growth within the environment and community. Ongoing projects include the “Our Spaces and Places Project,” “Elizabeth River/Arthur Kill Watershed Association Project” and the “Healthy Neighborhood/Healthy Home Project.”
The Department of Public Works has also been busy keeping the city “Clean and Green.” The department has restructured its extensive recycling program, providing residents weekly pickups of newspapers, plastics and glass objects. They participate in numerous neighborhood cleanups year-round and plant hundreds of trees at no cost to residents. One of the department’s successful programs also helps eliminate water pollution. The program, “Solutions to Storm Water Pollution,” adopts ordinances and regulations that prohibit various activities that contribute to storm water pollution.
In addition, last year the city became the home to Fuel:Bio, the largest commercial producer of bio diesel in the northeast. Fuel:Bio Holdings is a state-of-the-art, fully-automated facility that can produce up to 50 million gallons of bio diesel per year. Bio diesel has gained popularity because it burns cleaner than regular oil.
“We are proud of the tremendous strides and improvements achieved to date, but we also recognize that more has to be done to ensure future generations have a healthy environment to enjoy,” said Councilman-at-Large Frank Cuesta. “As the only city in New Jersey to make the top 50 list, I hope we can inspire others to start green programs and help keep our environment strong.”
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