Viewing Houston Through Green Tinted Glasses
Houston is known for many things, being environmentally friendly isn’t one of them. Mayor Annise Parker has plans to move the city forward with programs and initiatives to change the way Houstonians view their home and the way others view the city.
Mayor Parker spoke with the UH Community in March at a faculty senate spring assembly. She discussed the rent-a-bike program. Some students, like Danielle Blut, an anthropology major and senior said we need this kind of program.
“Rent-a-bike is innovative and it will help people become more aware and familiar with the city’s hike and bike trails,” Blut said. “It will help overcome the trend of American obesity and ease up on the pollution in the city as well. Its affordability is wonderful; it’s a great start.”
Although this program has good intentions, Blut fears that more cyclists on the road may lead to more accidents if drivers don’t become more aware.
“This program is useful in a city like ours, and it may help drivers become more aware of their soundings if there are more bikers out; but that is also the down side,” Blut said.
“We do have bad drivers. Everyone on the road and area will have to be safe when it comes to bikers and cars sharing the road. There does need to be some way to help our city lose weight and become more active.”
Amanda Loethen, a junior media studies major, thinks rent-a -bike is an interesting idea but shares Blut’s concern about traffic.
“In the long run, I think it will help pollution,” Loethen said. “It’s going to take awhile for people to share the road with so many cyclists; it could be very dangerous if we’re not careful.”
Mayor Parker won an award for her recycling idea “One Bin for All.” The idea would allow Houston residents to mix trash and recyclables in one container, which would later be sorted at a new ‘one of a kind’ plant, that would be built for an estimated $100 million.
Blut said she believes the “One Bin for All” program will help increase the amount of recycling done by Houstonians.
“We now have about a 14 percent recycling rate. With the “One Bin for All” program it should increase to about 75 percent.”
This program would not take effect for another two years after proposals and plans to go start construction have been made.
Blut said that public education would help. She said Houstonians don’t understand how their waste is not only polluting our city, but costing tax payers money.
Radha Khetpal, a print journalism major at UH, said that it’s not just up to the city to clean up, but the people who live here as well.
“I feel that a small effort can go a long way but we need more people to make that effort and care enough about the environment.”