We all need to be careful of what we are doing that may be polluting the public water bodies in our communities. Pollution can sicken people, kill wildlife, and make the planet much less livable for future generations.
Here are some things you can do to help keep our local public water bodies clean and safe:
Always Dispose of Pet Waste Properly
One of the easiest things we can do to protect our water supply is to always dispose of pet waste properly. Pet waste contains bacteria and parasites that can contaminate the water supply, as well as chemicals from pesticides and fertilizers that can harm the environment.
To dispose of pet waste in a way that protects your community’s health, here are a few tips.
- Place your animal’s litter box in an area where there is plenty of ventilation but not on concrete or near plants/grass.
- If possible, do not let pets roam free when they are eliminating outdoors (like at dog parks).
- Immediately pick up any feces after it appears on sidewalks or lawns before it has a chance to wash into storm drains or waterways nearby.
Never Dump Hazardous Household Chemicals into Storm Drains
Storm drains are not the place you should be disposing of household chemicals. There is a chance the chemicals might find their way into a nearby water body.
To properly dispose of household chemicals, one can take advantage of these options.
- If you are unsure whether or not a chemical is hazardous, check with your local waste management facility. If it is not a hazardous chemical, you can throw it in the trash.
- If you have collected any bottles or containers with hazardous household chemicals inside them, they must be taken to a recycling center that accepts hazardous materials.
- Certain types of household chemicals cannot just be thrown away in regular trash or recycled. These require special treatment at specialized facilities that handle such waste safely and efficiently.
Keep Storm Drains and Catch Basins Free of Debris
Storm drains are the first line of defense against water pollution. They are designed to collect rainwater, not litter, debris, and other garbage. If a storm drain gets clogged with trash or leaves, it can overflow and cause flooding in homes and businesses.
When in doubt, leave it out. While we all want to do our part for the environment by recycling, many items cannot be recycled and should not be put in the recycling bin at your home or office. However, they should not find themselves clogging up a storm drain either. Dispose of them accordingly if you cannot recycle these objects in any way.
Notify the Proper Authorities If You See Someone Polluting the Water
If you see someone polluting the water, please notify the proper authorities. Do not confront the person yourself. Call the police, and contact your local environmental protection agency.
If it is an emergency such as a fire or explosion, call 911 before calling anyone else. Also, call your local health department and/or fire department if there are no environmental or law enforcement agencies that can help at that moment in time.
Finally, call your local water utility to let them know about any unauthorized discharges into their system so they can work with law enforcement to stop them from happening again. The US government is more willing than ever to take legal actions when it comes to protecting the environment. The case of water contamination at Camp Lejeune is already waiting for President Biden’s approval before being passed into law. Thus, it is evident that the US is no longer taking these matters lightly.
Clean Up Litter
Litter is a major source of water pollution and should be treated as such. It is not only harmful to wildlife but also harmful to humans and the environment at large. Litter can be ingested by small animals and even larger animals like birds who mistake it for food. Harmful chemicals may leach into the soil surrounding these creatures, adversely affecting their health if they ingest them while eating litter.
Litter can also get contaminated with bacteria that cause illness in humans when ingested or come into contact with an open wound. That can lead to serious conditions such as food poisoning, especially for small children. So, wherever you see litter, pick it up, and encourage others in your community to do the same. These baby steps will help make way for cleaner and pollution-free water bodies in your community.
Keeping pollution at bay from public water bodies is a mammoth task. However, small initiatives and a bit of support from local authorities can work wonders in this regard. So, never hesitate to take the first step. Your actions in keeping your environment clean will surely encourage others to come forward as well.
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