New York isn’t all that well known for being an eco-friendly, sustainable city. They lag behind the rest of the United States in a lot of different areas, like recycling for example.
But one way they make up for it is in trees.
Launched in 2007 by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the MillionTreesNYC initiative sought to plant 1 million more trees to beautify the city, add some greenery, and improve air quality.
The program was so successful, the millionth tree was planted about two years ahead of schedule. The millionth tree was a lacebark elm, planted in the South Bronx in Joyce Kilmer Park. It’s pretty close to where the first tree of this initiative was planted back in 2007.
This is something New Yorkers can absolutely be proud of. Other cities have followed in their wake. Los Angeles and Boston have both embarked on tree planting programs, but they have yet to see the same success that New York did.
The trees were nearly evenly distributed among all of New York’s boroughs. 285,000 were planted in Queens. 280,000 were planted in the Bronx. 185,000 were planted in Brooklyn. Staten Island now has 175,000 new trees, and Manhattan enjoys 75,000 more trees.
Some areas of the city that were particularly treeless were given some added focus with extra trees being planted in those neighborhoods. The city hopes to see instances of asthma and other health issues decrease as the trees grow up.
Each year, New York’s trees remove about 2,200 tons of particulate pollution from the air and 1.35 million tons of climate change-causing carbon dioxide. They also capture about 890 million gallons of stormwater annually, reducing damage from urban runoff.