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Environmentally Friendly

Supervisor Frank Petrone shows off the rain barrel that Huntington resident Claudia Liu painted, which one resident will win this Saturday at Family Earth Day Expo. Photo from A.J. Carter

Huntington is getting ready to go green.

This Saturday, April 23, between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m., Huntington Town will host its annual Family Earth Day Expo at Town Hall, an event that helps residents learn about the many programs and businesses on the North Shore that are working to reduce their environmental footprint, as well as how the community members themselves can play a part.

“Each year the town tries to highlight how residents can help preserve the environment while saving themselves money,” Supervisor Frank Petrone (D) said in a statement. “Whether it’s … bringing e-waste for recycling or dropping off unneeded and unwanted medicines, residents will find a variety of ways they can get into the Earth Day spirit.”

One issue that will be highlighted at the expo is the risk pharmaceutical drugs have on the local water supply and marine life, such as when medications are flushed down the toilet or are present in human waste.

In a joint effort with the advocacy organization Citizens Campaign for the Environment, residents will be able to turn in medication they no longer need to the Suffolk County Police Department, which will dispose of it in an environmentally safe manner.

According to the World Health Organization, there is some discharge of pharmaceuticals into water sources, and Citizens Campaign said, “pharmaceutical drug contamination has been proven to adversely impact fish and aquatic life.”

According to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, male fish have developed eggs when exposed to female hormones in birth control pills. Anti-depressants and beta-blockers reduce fertility or affect certain aquatic organisms’ reproductive systems.

Staying on the theme of safe ways to dispose of materials, the town will also, in sponsorship with Covanta, a global corporation that works on sustainable solutions to waste-management challenges, give residents the opportunity to properly dispose of electronic goods with a recycling event.

Councilman Mark Cuthbertson (D) said it’s a day not only for adults to learn but also for kids to enjoy as well.

“Children and parents alike will definitely have the opportunity for a lot of hands-on fun at this event,” he said in a statement. “It is equally important to be able to show families across Huntington how easy it is to protect kids from harmful chemicals and pesticides, how to make homes and cars more energy efficient and how to save money in the process.”

There will be residential solar energy and organic garden demonstrations, as well as lessons for kids on how compost is made and how to plant a seed in a recycled pot.

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk, a nonprofit community education agency, will also provide a variety of sea specimens that kids are welcome to touch, to demonstrate the importance of protecting the marine environment.

There will be a raffle to win a custom-painted rain barrel, painted by former Huntington resident Claudia Liu. The 50-gallon barrel is both a decorative item and a utilitarian one, to be placed in a yard to capture and store rainwater for use with gardening, which helps conserve water. The winner will be announced at the expo.

Family Day Earth Expo will take place in the parking lot of Town Hall on Main Street, at Jackson Avenue, in Huntington.