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Water makes up about 70% of the earth’s surface, which only means one thing. Leaving it uncared for is almost like digging your own grave and also putting millions of livelihoods at risk.
While it’s not possible to reverse the damage already done, it is possible to do the bare minimum and prevent hazardous elements from getting into our local rivers and creeks by incorporating a few changes in our habits.
We’re well aware of the most obvious pollutants like plastic, for instance, but we hardly pay heed to the chemicals that find their way into the streams and end up killing marine life brutally.
It’s likely for water to pick up different kinds of pollutants when it flows off our building rooftops, parking lots, and streets. Some of these pollutants include sediment, pesticides, pet waste, fertilizers, automotive fluids, oil, and much more.
In a nutshell, the more houses and commercial setups there are, the more likely it is for the polluted runoff to make its way from storm drains and gutters into the nearest streams. What you have as a result is water that is neither safe as a habitat for marine life nor suitable for consumption.
Here are some direct and indirect actions you can take to reduce this runoff.
There are a number of items we use on a daily basis without ever knowing the right way to dispose of them. It’s always either the bin or the sink. As a first step towards being a responsible homeowner and citizen, find out what hazardous materials are accepted in your local waste management service. The next step is to avoid pouring these down the drain:
⮚ Prescription drugs
Remember, if it’s hazardous for you, it’s also hazardous for the underwater species that solely rely on their clean habitat to survive. Keeping your house clean should not come at the cost of polluting rivers and streams.
We know how important your garden is to you. You may have spent a whole lot to make it bloom and sustain its appearance for the longest time. However, certain chemicals you’ve used in the process could cost other species their life.
Pesticides, chemical herbicides, and fertilizers are some of the biggest sources of phosphorus and nitrogen pollution in rivers and streams. It’s possible for your garden to thrive with fewer flowers and minimal fertilization, but it’s impossible to reverse the damage that toxic chemicals unleash upon local sources of water.
Your garden’s landscape can very well be shaped and adjusted in a way that requires less watering and fertilizing. One such way is to switch to native plants. Since these plants can adapt to local climate and soil, they don’t require as much investment in terms of fertilizers. This means less to no stormwater runoff. Non-native plants, on the other hand, require much more investment to stay healthy and in ideal shape.
This goes without saying, learn to clean up after your pets. The bacteria and other harmful nutrients in their poop can easily flow through the waterways and end up causing pollution. Now you may be wondering if there’s even a “green” way to dispose of your pet waste, and luckily, there is. It might sound surprising, but dog poop is very much compostable. However, here’s something to avoid. Never ever mix it with your regular pile, as the pathogens in the poop can contaminate it.
Here’s how to go about it. Purchase a pet waste composter, dig a hole in the garden, plant it, add your dog’s poop in it along with a digester to help break it down, and there you have it, a perfectly healthy way to dispose of your dog’s waste.
Remember, don’t plant it anywhere near the edible parts of a garden or natural water sources. You must dedicate a specific yard to the practice and make sure that it isn’t anywhere near a source that may end up going into local rivers and streams.
Is it the time of the year again when your driveway is crumbling away? Here’s the biggest reason you should use permeable pavers. They come with a number of holes to allow the water to drain through directly as opposed to causing it to run off to the nearest storm drain.
As the name suggests, rain gardens are designed for low-lying areas to reduce erosion, flooding and filter any runoff. It’s typical of low-lying areas to receive heavy rainfall. This means there’s a growing need for a system to facilitate quick drainage, and this is where a rain garden comes in. Since it’s planted with native species, you can expect it to handle wet soil and eventually reduce any runoff that comes as a result.
Last but not least, your septic system requires annual evaluations to ensure that they are working properly. This is because, in case of failure, the waste can easily leak into groundwater and end up in the waterways.
In the end, the choices you make at home, in the yard, or even on the dining table have a huge impact on lives outside your small bubble. Your first duty as a responsible citizen is to learn your local erosion and sediment control ordinances.
Following this, you must learn what practices to cut back on, what products to avoid purchasing and how to dispose of the waste in the right manner. Remember, you’re not clean because you keep your house clean. You’re clean because you keep the wider community clean. The runoff that comes as a result of your actions can cost several species their lives and can also deprive millions of a healthy source of water to drink and survive.