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Keep Liberty Beautiful: Reducing stormwater runoff is a gift for environment
Karen Bell
Keep Liberty Beautiful Executive Director Karen Bell.

Dr. Karen Bell

Keep Liberty Beautiful

I hope everyone got the gifts they wanted for the holidays! This is a special time of the year, and we all can help give our environment a wonderful gift for the New Year by knowing how to take care of it. With the amount of rain we have had this year, we must be mindful of what is being 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? We have to find ways to protect our stormwater system from pollution. When litter is placed on the ground, it can cause a problem 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 becomes 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, including pollutants such as automotive fluids, fertilizers and pesticides, bacteria, sediments, litter, and pet waste.

So, this runoff leads to significant waterway issues. Surface runoff flows directly into local creeks, streams, waterways, or 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 we love to play in, swim in, boat in, and get our drinking water from becoming contaminated by the debris that joins the stormwater.

Water pollution is very 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. Tiny animals eat pollutants such as lead and other chemical elements. 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 welcome the gifts we receive and think about the gift we can give to our environment by doing our part to keep litter out of our waterways.

Remember to recycle your Live Christmas trees, free of all decorations and tree base. You can also bring gently used shoes and clothes on January 6 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The drop-off location for these items is at the Hinesville Recycling Transfer Station, on the corner of West Oglethorpe Highway and Fraser Drive. It is across from McDonald’s and Jet gas station.

A list of collectible items is on the Keep Liberty Beautiful website, www. keeplibertybeautiful.org. Contact KLB if you have questions at (912) 8804888 or klcb@libertycountyga. com.

Keep Liberty Beautiful wishes you all a safe and Happy New Year!

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