NOAH Youth Update Residents on Litter Study, Tree Canopy Projects

At last week’s Eagle Hill Civic Association (EHCA) meeting, members of the East Boston Neighborhood of Affordable Housing’s (NOAH) Youth (N-Yo) gave a presentation to residents on the group’s new litter study and tree canopy project.

For the past two weeks N-Yo members have been surveying Eastie residents on the trash and litter issue and trying to formulate solutions.

“We’ve worked on this issue in one way or another for the past few years,” said N-Yo’s Gabriella Ramirez. “Litter is a big issue in East Boston so for the past two weeks, we’ve surveyed over 60 people in different neighborhoods in East Boston. Eighty seven percent of those that responded said there were not enough trash barrels or recycling bins in East Boston. When we asked how we could deal with the neighborhood’s trash and the litter issue the responses included adding more trash barrels; fining people for littering; more organized community cleanups; and making businesses more responsible for cleaning in front of their stores”

Ramirez and the N-Yo members then came up with an idea.

“In discussing this issue the NOAH Youth came up with an idea that we think could help,” said Ramirez.

The idea is to hold a community event where residents can come and help the NOAH Youth design and decorate trash barrels.

“Our idea is to then give these barrels to local business owners who would be responsible for making sure they were emptied on a regular basis as well as using them as a tool to clean in front of their stores,” said Ramirez. “We hope by doing this the City of Boston could donate the trash barrels to us so we could design and decorate them for the business community.”

NOAH’s Melinda Vega, who oversees the NOAH Youth, provided an update on the agency’s tree canopy project.

For nearly two years a group of concerned teens from NOAH have been trying to rekindle the neighborhood’s grassroots effort to get more trees planted in Eastie. NOAH Youth members have launched the tree canopy project in an effort to bring awareness to Eastie’s lack of street trees and want to double our tree canopy coverage in Eastie. The youth define the tree canopy as street trees or trees that line the sidewalks throughout the neighborhood. The youth have been working to gather information and data on the tree canopy and now are starting to plant these new trees throughout Eastie.

Vega and the NOAH Youth told residents that nearly 70 trees were planted last year and another 40 are slated to be planted this year.

Using Google Earth the Youth Crew mapped and market every tree in the neighborhood. They counted the number of trees per street and calculated how many trees could possibly fit on any given street. Studies show that ideally for a good urban tree canopy there is a tree every 20 to 25 feet.

The Youth Crew found there were 1,924 trees in Eastie and over 300,000 linear feet of sidewalk space. On average there is a tree every 167 feet. If a tree was planted every 25 feet Eastie could have over 12,500 trees.

An example the Youth Crew points to is a 4,980 foot stretch of Maverick Street from the Maverick Gate near the airport to Maverick Square. The problem there is that there are only 17 trees, or 9 percent of the possible 199 trees that could potentially line the street.

The youth said trees naturally absorb pollution and could reduce urban noise by 6 to 15 decibels.

The NOAH Youth plans to Increase tree coverage in Eastie to 30 percent thus doubling the current tree canopy coverage.

Vega said NOAH is in talks right now with the City of Boston’s Parks Department to get a key to city water spickets that are around Eastie so the Youth Crew can better care for the newly planted trees by regularly watering them.

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