In 2019, students in Grades 3-12 were challenged to create and present solutions to sustainability-related issues they identified in their own neighborhoods. The 26 submissions from across the district are featured below.

Submissions for Grades 3 ‑ 5

Litter Preventers

PS 30

In our community, we have a problem with littering. It is one of the largest problems in Jersey City. Littering occurs on sidewalks, streets, street corners, parks, and especially on or near sewer grates. People sometimes push their garbage into the sewer grate which blocks the sewer grate holes and causes flooding when it rains. Not only does littering affect our community but litter can fill the sewer which leads to waterways and into the ocean. In turn, this harms sea animals, seafood supply, our water system and people’s health. When people in the community dump out paint and oils in the sewers, people don’t realize that it’s toxins get into the ocean and kill or harm the sea animals. Litter can lead into more problems such as poor air quality. Trash is a factor in air pollution which causes serious health conditions. Based on our research and litter survey results we have found that this is an important issue that needs to be addressed overall.

Dolphin Developers and Innovators

PS 20 Maya Angelou

The students at the Dr. Maya Angelou Elementary School, PS #20 have identified a need for safety in our community. They feel students do not feel safe crossing a busy street, such as Ocean Avenue, and there is a lack of signs indicating drivers that they are approaching a school zone. The students felt that this was an important problem to address for the following reasons: The students are aware of two students (one a lower grade classmate and the other a student at a nearby school) that have been struck by a driver just this school year. Multiple teachers in our school have had their parked vehicles hit by another moving vehicle. A speeding vehicle collided into the our school green space fence. This is an important because students actively play in the that area.. Cars are not slowing down when they are approaching our school.

Sustainability Solvers

PS 23

In our neighborhood, we have sustainability problems about pollution of plastic (especially in plastic water bottles) and of people that are homeless. So our teacher and art teacher have challenged us to fix this problem and help our community. Have fun and enjoy reading our article. Our problem is important because we learned all about plastic and its dangers. In the past, people never thought where the plastic products went, until now! We think we should stop this because we learned that scientists believe at this rate in about 30 or 40 years from now, marine animals will each have a bit of plastic, maybe causing them to become extinct. Our problem is also important because a lot of people are outside without no company or heat or the important necessities to survive. We feel bad, so we thought of combining these two problems, and we came up with a solution to solve both. Read more to find out.. We think we should address this to show the harmfulness that plastic is doing ,not only to our neighborhood ,but also the world ,and that the homeless matter! They have feelings like every one of us. So our solution is to design and build a temporary home for the homeless out of plastic water bottles and other materials. So in conclusion, in our neighborhood, we have sustainability problems that deasl with the plastic pollution.We want to use plastic waste to make homes for those who are homeless.


PS 17

The problem that we are faced with in our community is the amount of garbage and leaves that wind up in our sewer systems. It can cause a major problem not only with our drinking water but, also with living creatures that live in the oceans, rivers that our sewer systems let out into.

The Voice of Jersey City

PS 25 Nicolaus Copernicus

In the Jersey City community, littering is a huge problem. Some of our group members recall seeing people throwing trash on the sidewalks and roads. The animals in our once beautiful community are declining. We feel this is due to them eating the litter thrown on the ground by humans or by breathing the air pollution caused by litter. Even worse, it affects the ocean and other bodies of water with aquatic life. Wildlife in our Jersey City community are also being harmed due to air pollution from factories. The Jersey City community is becoming more polluted minute by minute because of the hazardous chemicals in the air caused from factories. Factories produce a lot of smoke every day and that pollutes the air we breathe. If factories produce less smoke or even no smoke, the air won’t become polluted and we will have more clean air to breathe! If there are less factories in Jersey City, there will be less pollution. Another major problem that we have is that we don’t have enough recycling bins and trash cans. This causes many people to not place the trash in the right receptacles, or in any for that matter. Even if there are trash cans and recycling bins, they usually get full. When it gets full, people just throw all of the litter on the sidewalk near the trash can. We need to stop littering, so the problem doesn’t get worse. It shouldn’t spread farther over Jersey City. As a result, animals are dying and humans are getting sick.

Helios Falcons

PS 41

The resiliency problem that we see is the increasing demand for electric. As more businesses and housing units get built around the city the need for electricity increases. Our need in our school for electricity has increased as well. With the growing increase on technology in our classrooms and climate change increasing the number of hot days and insufficient revenue to add air conditioning to older schools has had an impact on students. The growing demand for electric increases the use of fossil fuels having an impact on climate change which ultimately affects our future and that of future generations.

Team Wakeman Wise Owls

PS 6

The city of Jersey City has in recent years, taken many steps to lesson our carbon footprint as a community. Since the implementation of the breakfast meal program by the Jersey City Public Schools, the amount of recyclable materials has increased substantially not only in our school, but throughout every public school within the city. Our broad plan is to bring awareness of this issue to other schools as well as to key people at the city and the JCPS to encourage the district to build relationships and to implement a district-wide plastic recycling system. Initiating a “Plastics Recycling” program throughout the Jersey City Public School system would address the needs for recycling the materials from all the meals provided at every school and will lessen the waste that would end up in our landfills and our waterways.

Guardians of the Gardens

PS 5

The problem that we, the team, ”The Guardians of the Gardens” are attempting to solve in our community is the reduction of the large amount of waste, litter, and recyclables. People are not properly disposing their trash by putting it in the correct place, a trash can and/or recycling can. We have a Non Eco-Friendly school and entrance and there is pollution and high levels of carbon emissions from cars. We are NOT recycling. There is also only ONE trash can on a one block radius. If there aren’t multiple better/smarter models of trash cans offered, people won’t want to throw their trash correctly because of the uninviting, inefficient, disgusting trash can that is available. There is graffiti on the trash can and stop signs. According to what we investigated outside, there are no bike racks or stroller parking, so people are locking their bikes on the trees, and that harms and prevents the young trees from growing and becoming big and strong. Professional signage is needed, and it should catch people’s attention. Placing stroller parking outside of our school would encourage parents to walk their children to school and know that their strollers are safe. We CAN make a difference.

Serious About Science

PS 27

Our problem is that there is way too much usage of plastic in our neighborhood, and schools, and we want to have a healthy neighborhood, We thought this problem was necessary to address because the more plastic utensils we use, the more pollution it will cause which will affect our community.

Green Warriors

PS 11

What we learned from our research is that how to compost and why. With the explanation why we were able to understand and help our community and the people in it. We also learned the valuable escance of how to compost and what you’re eligible to use such as apple cores, banana peels, egg shells and etc. . Also what not to use such as paper, ashes, dog or cat waste, tea or coffee bags, and etc. . What we found out before the problem is the effect on the environment itself. Such as the waste of money that comes out of our pockets for the food. Or the waste it causes when you don’t compost. Some of the possible solutions that already exist are that out city is already recycling. Another way our team is already existing is that we have started to compost. Our team will measure the success of the project by observing how much less waste we have, by contrasting the flowers to the past to see how well we fertilized it and how it germinated.

It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

PS 16

Downtown Jersey City is known for a lot of flooding. Here at PS 16, we wanted to recycle this water and use it for growing a garden. People often take long showers and leave the faucet running, which also wastes water.

Submissions for Grades 6 ‑ 8


PS 5

The Greenifiers want to solve the problem of an impending, global food shortage crisis within the next 31 years that will impact the quality of life in Jersey City. There are currently no plans in place in Jersey City for establishing localized, sustainable food sources. This problem is important to address because the community garden will be vital to maintaining a green and sustainable area near PS 5 and addresses future food shortages that will be caused by overpopulation including loss of green land, and dwindling supplies of water, food, and energy.

Pearl Academy

Academy 1

Our team has two problems that we are trying to solve: a sustainable problem and also a resiliency problem. First, the sustainability problem is water pollution in our Hudson River. This river isn’t in good shape considering it is one of the most polluted rivers in the U.S. Another problem our community faces is hurricanes. Hurricanes are a resiliency problem in our community which can risk destroying and flooding the area.

Zorbie Pads

PS 28

The problem that our team is trying to solve is the ‘Leachate’ that comes from garbage bags or trash cans. The populations very big and crowded so this can have more people create more garbage. These smells form the leaks can attract vermin, insects, rodents, and other sorts of small animals. There can be illnesses and diseases carried around by the vermins, insects, etc. The garbage liquids can harm the environment and do a lot of damage to it.

Operation Cordero Green Up

PS 37

Poor air quality caused by car exhaust pollution, known as Particulate pollution. We can make our school have a cleaner environment/a greener place by adding plants to improve air quality and general health. Our team thought this problem was important to address because pollution rates are increasing around the world and this will only cause more issues for society such as bad health. In the neighborhood of our school in particular, we have counted the numbers of cars that pass our school at different times during the day and were amazed to see how many it was.


PS 11

Over the past few decades, Urban Heat has been a constant threat to Jersey City. An Urban Heat Island is a metropolitan area significantly warmer than its surrounding rural areas Heat Islands can affect communities by:

• Increasing summer energy demands
• Increasing air conditioning costs
• Increasing air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions
• Increasing risk of heat-related illness
• Reducing water quality

Sustainability Team

MS 4

Our community and communities surrounding ours have a problem all around us that we are trying to solve. The problem is water pollution and that results from flooding and causes marine animals to die. We thought this problem was important to address because we are aware that the Earth’s water supply has been mostly contaminated. If the Earth’s water supply gets fully contaminated then we have no clean water to drink. So we want to find a sustainable solution to reduce the amount of litter that goes to the sewers. Litter causes flooding because it clogs up the sewers. So if there are massive amounts of rain then it will be above the sewers. Not only that, the litter ends up in the ocean which kills the animals.

Solar Based Energy

Academy 1

People aren’t able to charge their personal belongings outside when they are coming home from work and/or school. Their device may be running low on battery, keeping them in hysteria. Children are found outside at bus stops with phones in order to keep in contact with their parent or guardian, if their device is ever low on battery, it will result in worried parents and anxious children. Not only are there problems with children unable to handle low battery on their devices while coming back from school, but many adults are also returning back to their homes with a low percentage shown on their phone. Usually, we spy adults near bus stops or waiting for the train, and most of the time, there are no available outlets and cables in order to charge their devices. People are found outside, whether it’s too cold or too hot, waiting for the bus. Our group will use solar based energy to prevent that from happening in bus stops by connecting solar panels on top of the roofs of bus shelters.

Eco Panthers

MS 40

The green spaces in out school and our neighborhood are under utilized Biodiversity in our area is limited Students’ time outside is minimal because of modern technology Our team thought the problems were important to address because we can promote ecological awareness, biodiversity, and improve overall mental and physical health.

Hydroponic STEAM Team

PS 41

The problem in our community our team will attempt to solve is the fact that our school is in the middle of a low income neighborhood. A number of families in this area have a hard time paying their bills and putting food on the table. We want to help these families out. One way that we can do it is to plant herbs and vegetables that they can use for cooking and making meals for their families.

Creating a Plastic Paradise

MS 7

Our team was inspired by 7th grade projects that pointed out the issues with plastic in the environment and prior Honeywell Ecoschools projects to beautify the school grounds We noticed the incredible amount of plastic that ends up in the trash and in the streets and thought they could be put to better use Looking at our school grounds during recess, we thought the grounds could use some beautification.

The gARTbage Crew

PS 17

Our community faces a major litter problem! Some people consider our streets and sidewalks a dumping ground for their garbage. Aside from being dirty looking, the garbage often ends up in our sewer drains and sewers. These sewers lead directly to our rivers and oceans. Every year, millions of pounds of garbage enter our waters worldwide. This litter eventually affects marine life and foul throughout the world.

Operation: Solar Panels

PS 34

Both Jersey City and New York City have one of the highest pollution levels in the United States, due to the population of people within both cities. One of the causes for the pollution is the amount of electricity being used. It is important for people to know how much harmful gases they are creating just by using electricity. This is an important problem to address because without knowing how much unsustainable resources that are being used, people would not only hurt the environment, but they would also hurt themselves.

Submissions for Grades 9 ‑ 12

Green Team

McNair Academic High School

For the past few years McNair and its community has had several water related issues:

Our basement, which houses the cafeteria and several classroom, floods with sewage water after heavy downpours.

Water in our drinking water fountains and faucets is not potable due to lead contamination. This leads to increased spending on gallons of water, plastic cups and plastic water bottles increasing plastic waste significantly.

Cash for Trash

Innovation High School

In many school communities the purpose of recycling bins is heavily overlooked; allowing the build up of recyclable items in the trash bin. We surveyed our school and found out that a lot of the recycling bins are mostly empty. The bins that are full, ones placed in heavy traffic, are filled with non-recyclable items. Out of the whole school we only found 5 recycling bins, and the majority of the bins were half empty, or not being used at all.

With this excess build up of trash in a recycling bin, usable items are being thrown away for good rather than being reused. Along with this waste of items, the carbon footprint (GHG emissions. Carbon footprint is defined as the total amount of greenhouse gases produced to directly and indirectly support human activities, usually expressed in equivalent tons of carbon dioxide CO2.) is present when all this trash starts to build up which is warms up the globe. Global warming is, as we all have come to know, negative and therefore we saw it as an important issue to address.

Sustainability EcoPark

Snyder High School

The following are key focus areas chosen to improve our sustainability:

1. Repurposing plastic wastes
2. Recycling school wastes
3. Development of Eco park with greenhouse/green space
4. Expert education in urban gardening, water purification, and composting
5. Community Environmental Outreach Programs