It’s time for Guilderland to do as the county has done — ban smoking in public parks

To the Editor:

The Albany County parks and recreation areas Lawson Lake, the Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail, and Ann Lee Pond Nature and Historic Preserve will be tobacco-free. I hope signs will be going up soon.

I want to thank all, and I do mean all, the members of the Albany County Legislature for voting for Local Law A. I am especially grateful to Paul Miller for being the prime sponsor of this law and for his very hard work in getting 30 sponsors of the bill and a unanimous vote among Republicans and Democrats in favor of it.

With all the warring nationally between the two parties, it was wonderful to see them come together in our county to enhance our experiences in our parks.

Park visitors will now be able to enjoy our beautiful parks without having to involuntarily inhale the hundreds of toxic chemicals in tobacco smoke and to see butts on the ground and in the lakes. Butts are not biodegradable and the chemicals that leach from them are hazardous to aquatic animals, wildlife, and pets. Also, butts are a fire hazard.

Local Law A is an important step toward making our community healthier, safer, and greener. Prior to the passage of this law, the following Albany County communities already had smoke-free parks legislation:  the villages of Altamont, Green Island, Voorheesville, and Menands; the cities of Albany, Cohoes, and Watervliet; and the town of Bethlehem.

Notably absent from this list is the town of Guilderland. Several months ago, I spoke with town Supervisor Peter Barber about this. I am grateful that he took the time to read the packet of material I had sent him, which included Local Law A. He said that, before doing anything, he wanted to wait to see what the county did.

Well, the county legislature passed it unanimously and the county executive signed it into law. Now it’s time for Guilderland to take a stand for public health and for the environment.

Carol Waterman


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