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New Yorkers Go Green for 45th Annual Earth Day

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Events focusing on preserving the planet were held around the city Tuesday as New Yorkers observed the 45th annual Earth Day. NY1's Jon Weinstein filed the following report.

The goal of the exhibits and booths is simple: to make the earth a sustainable place. Whether it's properly disposing of electronics or composting biodegradable materials, the advocates on hand were determined to get their message out.

"About 30 percent of our garbage is compostable food waste, so we're decreasing the amount that's being sent to the landfill," said Chloe Bishop of the NYC Compost Project.

"It's really just a way of letting people know about all the different ways that they can green their lifestyle, different environmental campaigns they can get involved in," said John Oppermann of Earth Day New York.

Mayor Bill de Blasio was here to lend his support. He announced plans for more stringent air quality standards by focusing on pollutants generated by boilers and trucks. The City Council is expected to hold hearings on that.

"We'll be updating and strengthening the city's air pollution control code," de Blasio said. "This is the way we keep our air clean, and there's more we can do."

With city schools still on spring break, education was a big theme. One group of students from P.S. 9 seemed to be learning quite a bit.

"We learned about Earth Day. No littering," said one student.

"We learned not to pollute the earth and the water because it can be dangerous to animals and people," said another.

Two sisters put those lessons into practice, recycling hundreds of cans and bottles.

"We don't realize the effect that our, the bottles and everything we consume has on the earth, and we really make a big impact, especially in one of the greatest cities in the world. If we raise awareness, we can make a big effect," said one of the sisters.

There was even an electric car, brought by a group of high school students from just outside Philadelphia. They said they wanted to teach the people at this festival about the benefits of this kind of transportation.

"Cuts down (carbon dioxide) emissions," said Mix Willcox, one of the students. "It doesn't get very long mileage, but it would be great to take back and forth to work because electric is a lot cheaper than gasoline or diesel."

There were political messages, too, but really, this was more a celebration of the earth than anything else.

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