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Think about stormwater this holiday
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Karen Bell is director of Keep Liberty Beautiful.

How cool would it be if we could make a wish to Santa for our environment and it comes true? Christmas is two days away, and I know children are thinking about what gifts they will receive from Santa, ok me too.  But the best gift we can give our environment is being aware of how to take care of it.  With the amount of rain we have gotten this year, we have to be mindful of what is thrown on the ground.  

Did you know that water is the world’s single most valuable natural resource, and it is our responsibility to help protect the water?  Liberty County’s Stormwater drainage system collects the water, and it goes into our waterways.  We have to protect our Stormwater system from pollution. When litter is placed on the ground, it can cause problems when it rains.  If there is litter on the roadways, it becomes stormwater pollution.  Stormwater is water released from clouds in the form of rain, freezing rain, sleet, snow, or hail that flows over land or impervious (waterproof) surfaces such as roadways, rooftops, and parking lots. 

Stormwater pollution starts with rainwater flowing over the ground. Stormwater that does not soak into the ground becomes surface runoff.  This runoff is polluted as it runs along roads, parking lots, roofs, commercial areas, lawns and farms. As the water flows along, it picks up anything in its path, pollutants such as automotive fluids, fertilizers and pesticides, bacteria, sediments, litter and pet waste.  

This runoff leads to significant waterway issues.  Surface runoff flows directly into local creeks, streams, waterways, storm drains or sewers that eventually flow into more significant waterways (rivers, lakes, oceans).  Typically there is no process for treatment before these waters enter local channels. So, the waters that we love to play in, swim in, boat in and get our drinking water from, become contaminated by the debris that joined the stormwater.  Water pollution is harmful to humans, animals, and water life. The effects can be catastrophic, depending on the chemicals, concentrations of the pollutants, and where they are polluted.  The main problem caused by water pollution is that it kills organisms that rely on these water bodies.  Pollution disrupts the natural food chain as well. Pollutants such as lead and other chemical elements are eaten by tiny animals. Later, these animals are consumed by fish and shellfish. The food chain continues to be disrupted at all higher levels, even up to us humans.  

This holiday season lets us make our wish known to Santa and do our part for our environment to keep litter out of our waterways.   Remember to recycle your electronics, tires, and Christmas trees on Jan. 9.

 The drop off location for these items is at the Liberty County Health Department.  A list of collectible items is on the Keep Liberty Beautiful website Contact KLB if you have questions at (912) 880-4888 or  

Keep Liberty Beautiful wishes you all a Safe and Happy Holiday!

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