In addition to initiatives underway in New Jersey in New York, the EPA has also expanded its national Trash Free Waters (TFW) program to Puerto Rico to develop a strategic approach there in support of aquatic trash prevention and reduction initiatives among public, private, and nonprofit stakeholders.

Syracuse EFC is providing development and facilitation support for the initiative in EPA Region 2. Stakeholders met on March 26 at the USDA Institute of Tropical Forestry in the Botanical Garden in Río Piedras to discuss next steps for the TFW effort in Puerto Rico, including the creation of a strategic plan with seven key projects to move the program forward. Proposed actions include combating litter and cigarette butts, reducing the use of plastic bags, reducing single-use plastic bottles at government agencies and government sponsored events, and using stormwater management as a method to reduce trash entering waterways.

Judith Enck, Regional Administrator of EPA Region 2, took part in the meeting dialogue along with members of the Puerto Rico Recycling Partnership and members from the EPA’s San Juan Bay Estuary Program, which works on separate but related efforts to reduce aquatic pollution.