LongIsland.com

Local Filmmaker Seeks Support for Documentary About Long Island Pollution

Written by Chris Casey  |  08. June 2013

Long Island is home to millions of people, precious wildlife, and ocean life.  It is being polluted in it's air, land, and water.

Our human waste management systems are inadequate releasing deadly levels of nitrogen and toxins into our ground and waterways. It is estimated that almost three million gallons of partially treated waste was recently spilled in the Reynolds Channel. This happened after a short power outage at the Nassau County Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant. This harsh number does not even include the billions of gallons estimated to have been spilled during Hurricane Sandy. The plant, similar to other Long Island waste management centers, does not even meet environmental compliance on state and federal levels. It is estimated to cost over a billion dollars just to update the Bay Park Plant alone which only treats forty percent of Nassau County’s waste.

Our land is polluted by Grumman and other manufacturers who have dumped tons of toxic waste into the ground over decades. Toxic chemicals such as Trichloroethylene classified as a human carcinogen have been found in an ever expanding plume under our feet in Nassau County. The spreading underground pollution has been bleeding into the water table where the Long Island water districts still get our drinking water from. To clean up this pollution is expected to cost tens of millions and many experts debate on how effective a clean-up effort will even be. Yet this is not the only pollution our ground and waterways face.

Fertilizers and concentrated levels of insecticides run off the land into the waterways killing wildlife and spreading harmful toxins.  For over a decade the U.S. Geological Survey and EPA have reported that the nitrogen levels in the waterways surrounding Long Island are a serious environmental issue. Chemicals like arsenic, nitrogen, and sulfate are found in high concentration levels on the north and south shores. This nitrogen comes from our waste management facilities who dump in the ocean, land run off containing high levels of nitrogen fertilizer pollutants, insecticides, pesticides, and from fossil fuels.  The burning and spillage of fossil fuels have also been reported to be poisoning our precious estuaries.  This fact, along with the insane amount of garbage, plastics, and other waste our film is showcasing will display to the public just how poorly we are treating our amazing island. Fishing and shellfishing are at all time lows, our drinking water safety levels are barely acceptable, and Hurricane Sandy poured over a billion gallons of untreated waste into the waterways all around Long Island.

As if that was not enough, in 2013 the Citizens Campaign for the Environment tested Long Island aquifers and found trace evidence of pharmaceutical waste in our drinking water. Issues like this cannot be looked over or downplayed as unimportant.  Our amazing island is being polluted, not only in the water, but even in the air.  In fact, it has been reported that our air quality in Suffolk County is literally the worst in all of New York state.

In 2011 Suffolk County residents tried to raise I.R. 2029 to ban chemical spraying over the entire county of eastern Long Island. These environmental spraying efforts made by the federal government through the FAA are done across all skies of the United States. In these long streams of chemicals you will find aluminum, barium, strontium, and other oxides, most of which are irritants. Local researchers have found dangerous levels of aluminum and barium in Long Island water, soil and tree bark. Facts like this sparked the court order led by Legislator Ed Romaine but was denied by the FAA claiming local district courts have no authority over federally regulated practices. Meanwhile, those residents are living in the dirtiest atmospheric conditions in the entire state of New York.

Through documented video and expert interviews we hope to create a narrative film that will explain the true challenges Long Island faces. We will look for support from local activist and organizations, fishing and boating industry leaders, elected officials, concerned citizens, and research organizations. We hope to involve local Long Island media groups to help further uncover pollution reports which have been already published by major Long Island newspapers and magazines.

The issues will be presented to officials at the NYS DEC, USGS, EPA, Parks Departments, county water management districts, and to elected officials on the town, county, and state levels to find what plans are in action to handle the problems, how progress is being made (or not made), and what they expect from everyday Long Islanders.

The film will mainly focus on environmental challenges faced by Long Island waterways and their condition after Hurricane Sandy. How the waterways got to the conditions they are in now, and how we can work together to help return Long Island back to it’s natural beauty. The film will also build chapters around land and air pollution on Long Island. We hope to encourage a movement by the people for the people without the need for a big government plan. We want to use education of scientific facts and analysis to show people how just a little knowledge and effort can make a world of difference. We will inspire people with beautiful imagery to show sides of Long Island many may not even know exist, and open eyes to how bad this issue has really become.

The filmmakers will use specialized under water, aerial, and high resolution cinema cameras to capture the essence of Long Island’s ocean waterways on the north and south shores, along with the many miles of fresh water that run through it. We will also look to capture wildlife and ocean-life to present a captivating view of Long Island’s natural environments.

We are looking to raise funds needed for the production, distribution, and marketing of our film. We need funding to acquire permits, schedule studio interviews, and document field analysis. Upon completion of the film we will be premiering it at a local Long Island movie theatre for one night with free admission, then release the film free online for all to watch and understand this important information from. We need your help and so does Long Island! Your support is greatly appreciated.

Please visit our website to learn more about the film and the environmental issues Long Island is facing, and visit our Indiegogo Page to become a contributor and donate.

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