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Environmental honor for South Pasadena golf course

Arroyo Seco Golf Course becomes first in the nation to earn ‘AGZA Green Zone’ designation.


The city of South Pasadena, joined by California Sen. Anthony Portantino, the American Lung Association and environmental organizations, today celebrated the city’s status as the first city in the nation to convert its municipal golf course to an AGZA Green Zone Golf Course. Certified by the American Green Zone Alliance, the city was previously the first in the nation to convert all of its park and median maintenance to emission- and gas-free equipment.

“South Pasadena continues to be a leader in sustainability and reducing the harmful health and environmental impacts of its municipal operations,” says Michael Cacciotti, the mayor of South Pasadena. “We’re proud to have partnered with AGZA, the AQMD and Donovan Brothers Golf to provide cleaner healthier air and more peace and quiet to everyone who lives in, works in or visits our city.”

Working with the city’s golf course maintenance contractor, Donovan Brothers Golf LLC, the Arroyo Seco Golf Course is now maintained using electric equipment, which replaced equipment run on gasoline. The city’s action has significantly reduced air pollution and noise, and is another demonstration of the city’s commitment to sustainability to the benefit of residents and visitors.

“The city of South Pasadena has been a leader on green strategies for many years, and today is another great example of that leadership,” says California Sen. Anthony Portantino, whose district includes the city. “I applaud the city, Donovan Brothers and the American Green Zone Alliance, and look forward to working with them to extend their work.”

The celebration took place at the city’s Arroyo Seco Golf Course, an attractive 18-hole, par-3 course. The course is nestled next to a quiet neighborhood, so slashing noise pollution is a benefit for nearby homeowners as well as patrons of the golf course, driving range, putting greens, mini-golf and café.

“As one of the nation’s leading advocates for clean air, we are pleased to praise the city’s leadership,” says John Yi, director of advocacy for the American Lung Association. “Particulate pollution has long been identified as a leading cause of lung cancer, and by eliminating pollution from small gasoline engines, the city will be helping in the fight against this terrible disease.”

Today’s action followed 2016’s successful AGZA Certified Green Zone City campaign. Eliminating toxic, carcinogenic and particulate emissions from gas combustion not only prevents the creation of smog and greenhouse gasses, but improves the health and safety of the grounds maintenance crew who use these machines for hours every day.

“The Pasadena Group of the Sierra Club commends the city of South Pasadena for using only emission-free electric equipment to maintain its golf course and median strips, the first city in the nation to do so,” says Don Bremner with the Sierra Club. “Emissions from gasoline-powered lawn and landscape maintenance equipment are a significant source of nitrogen oxide and other pollutants that are precursors to ozone formation in the Los Angeles air basin. Reducing these emissions is an important step in addressing the region’s serious air pollution. Becoming the first AGZA Green Zone Golf Course underscores the significance of this achievement.”

“By certifying the nation’s first AGZA Green Zone Golf Course, Arroyo Seco and the city of South Pasadena are taking bold steps to demonstrate that you can have clean quiet golf greens without the noise, health and environmental damage inherent with gasoline-powered equipment,” says Dan Mabe, founder of American Green Zone Alliance. “Golf is a sport and a lifestyle that prides itself on pristine landscaping and quiet beauty, which until now have been marred by small gas engines — the least efficient, dirtiest and most polluting mechanisms around.”