Shutterstock

The California town has banned plastic lawns over environmental concerns

Residents in Glendale, Calif., may have just been trying to get it right when they installed astroturf on their lawns. The southern California community butts up against Pasadena and Burbank, a thirsty part of the world, so a waterless lawn that stays green all year has been an attractive option for many residents.

The times have changed, though, and Glendale has banned artificial turf for front yards only and begun issuing warnings to residents who won’t let the plastic green stuff go.

The ban comes over concerns about potential environmental hazards, such as lead leaching out of the plastic and into the ground. Astroturf can also contribute to heat island effect. In cities where building and paving has already reduced many natural cooling systems, heat island effect can increase energy demand, pollution and greenhouse gas emissions as well as heat-related illness and mortality, warns the Environmental Protection Agency. Combating the problem by covering heat-producing surfaces with native grasses can earn builders a LEED credit.

Geneva Dotson, a Glendale resident who had to tear up her front lawn, told the Glendale News-Press she was “blind-sided” by the edict, but didn’t think it was worth the hassle to fight it. So far the city has issued six notices, and warns the matter could be handed over to the city attorney for criminal prosecution if residents fail to comply.

Photo credit: Shutterstock / r.classen

About the Author

Amy Biegelsen

Amy Biegelsen is a freelance writer living in Washington, D.C.

Most Popular

  1. Two New York City subway cars derailed on the A line in Harlem Tuesday, another reminder of the MTA's many problems.
    Transportation

    Overcrowding Is Not the New York Subway's Problem

    Yes, the trains are packed. But don’t blame the victims of the city’s transit meltdown.

  2. Homeless individuals inside a shelter in Vienna in 2010
    Equity

    How Vienna Solved Homelessness

    What lessons could Seattle draw from their success?

  3. Members of a tenants' organization in East Harlem gather outside the office of landlord developer Dawnay, Day Group, as lawyers attempt to serve the company with court papers on behalf of tenants, during a press conference in New York. The tenant's group, Movement for Justice in El Barrio, filed suit against Dawnay, Day Group, the London-based investment corporation "for harassing tenants by falsely and illegally charging fees in attempts to push immigrant families from their homes and gentrify the neighborhood," said Chaumtoli Huq, an attorney for the tenants.
    Equity

    Toward Being a Better Gentrifier

    There’s a right way and a wrong way to be a neighbor during a time of rapid community change.

  4. Equity

    An Elegy for 'The Hood'

    The death of the rapper Prodigy raises a few questions: Is “the hood” over—and why did we ever need it to begin with?

  5. Citi Bikes are pictured.
    Videos

    A Stark Comparison of Parking Vs. Bike-Share Spaces

    Watch New Yorkers swarm a Citi Bike station like mad ants while cars sit virtually idle across the street.