Planning to wash your car this weekend? Use pesticides in your garden? Ignore that oil leak in the old rig?
You may not realize it, but even mundane decisions can influence the world we live in – and the quality of our lives for generations to come.
Local laboratory Kwiáht is facilitating a program for young women to learn about eco-engineering this summer. It is sponsored by the American Association of University Women, and a large part of the program is learning about bioswales and the effect on runoff and drainage. Kwiaht has led several projects with kids that center around this topic. To read more see page two.
The goal of the these kinds of projects is to nurture and inspire the scientists of the future. We want to remind everyone of the steps to be done today, right now. Humans and their many harmful activities, are bringing contaminants into our waters.
Runoff pollution is associated with rainwater or melting snow that washes off roads, bridges, parking lots and rooftops. As it flows over these surfaces, the water picks up dirt and dust, rubber and metal deposits from tire wear, antifreeze and engine oil that has dripped onto the pavement, pesticides and fertilizers, and discarded cups, plastic bags, cigarette butts, pet waste, and other litter. These contaminants are carried into streams and oceans.
Here are some common pollutants.
• Oils and grease are leaked onto road surfaces from car and truck engines, spilled at fueling stations and discarded directly onto pavement or into storm sewers instead of being taken to recycling stations.
• Heavy Metals: Heavy metals come from some “natural” sources such as minerals in rocks, vegetation, sand, and salt. But they also come from car and truck exhaust, worn tires and engine parts, brake linings, weathered paint, and rust. Heavy metals are toxic to aquatic life and can potentially contaminate ground water.
• Grass and shrub clippings, pet waste, food containers, and other household wastes and litter can lead to polluted waters. Pet waste from urban areas can add enough nutrients to estuaries to cause premature aging, or “eutrophication.”
• If fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides are applied excessively or improperly, they can be carried away by rain water. Pesticides and herbicides can be harmful to human and aquatic life.
So let’s take a page from our kids and show Mother Earth a little tender loving care.