The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is providing a $60,000 grant to ENLACE, an organization that serves communities along the Martin Peña Channel in San Juan to educate people about water quality in the canal and what can be done to reduce pollution.
The funding is part of the EPA’s Urban Waters program, which supports community efforts to restore and revitalize local canals, rivers, lakes, wetlands, aquifers, estuaries, bays and ocean areas and provide access to them.
“The pollution problems that plague Martin Peña [Channel] are staggering,” said EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck. “People living in this community deserve clean water and involving the public in restoring this resource will help ensure this water body is eventually cleaned up.”
ENLACE is a community-based organization whose mission is to rehabilitate the Martin Peña Channel and its bordering communities by building partnerships between the communities and the public and private sector.
ENLACE will receive $60,000 to produce programs about water quality for adults and up to 2,000 school children in the densely populated neighborhoods near the Martin Peña Channel.
Activities for younger children will include field day events and contests, while older children will learn about water quality monitoring and public health. Adult residents will participate in public meetings and workshops, develop signs related to contamination and carry out waste reduction and recycling activities.
Sewage, runoff from city streets and contamination from abandoned industrial facilities have polluted many urban waterways for years. Healthy and accessible urban waters can help local businesses grow and enhance educational, recreational, employment and economic opportunities in nearby communities.
By promoting public access to urban waterways, the EPA is helping communities become active participants in restoration and protection.
Through the Urban Waters program, the EPA is awarding grants ranging from $30,000 to $60,000 to 46 organizations throughout the nation. The projects selected for the funding will promote the restoration of urban waters through community engagement and outreach, water quality monitoring and studies, and environmental education and training.