Our Third Annual Rivers Alive is just a few weeks away and we need your help this year to clean up 10-12 bodies of water in our community. On Oct. 25, we will clean rivers, creeks, ponds, lakes and streams around Liberty County to reduce the litter and debris that pollute our waterways and affect the quality of the water we drink, fish and play in.
The health of our waters affects all of us. Most of us take clean and readily available water for granted, as we do the air we breathe. We expect clean, safe water to appear every time we turn on the tap. Unfortunately, with droughts and the impact of stormwater pollution, we cannot take our water for granted anymore. Although we could use some rain here, we haven’t suffered the dire drought consequences the northern part of Georgia is dealing with. I won’t ever forget how Lake Lanier looked last year when I was there. It was so low. Seeing it made me realize how serious water problems are.
And dry conditions are only one part of the problem.
Nonpoint source pollution is a major contributor to water pollution. It is the greatest threat to our waterways. In fact, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that up to 80 percent of pollution is caused by stormwater runoff. This is something we can all fight.
Stormwater runoff is the rain that hits the ground and flows off streets, rooftops and lawns. As it flows, it carries spilled or leaked motor oil on the roads, litter thrown or blown out of vehicles, cigarette butts, lawn fertilizers and other waste. Stormwater, with its new litter and debris companions, collects in storm drains and drainage swales and flows directly into local streams, rivers and other waterways — untreated. A common misconception is that water flowing into storm drains goes to a wastewater treatment center. In fact, it usually does not. What goes into a storm drain ends up in our waterways. Think about that the next time that you want to flick your cigarette butt on the ground. You might be swimming with it by the weekend.
In addition, this pollution is devastating to fish and marine life, as well as birds that feed in our waters. They can mistake trash for food and become entangled in some types of litter, such as six-pack rings or discarded fishing line. Polluted waters also can make animals sick.
I’m not really interested in fishing, but I do like to eat seafood. I don’t want to ruin my meal by worrying about whether my food was swimming around in dirty water. Periodic cleanups like Rivers Alive will help us keep our waterways cleaner. It is essential to clean up and remove litter and debris before it ends up in our water. We will all enjoy our fresh Georgia seafood more!
Keep Liberty Beautiful will set up several clean-up locations around town and on the coast because the trail of litter and debris often begins in more populated residential and business areas. If we can collect the debris accumulating in creeks and streams in town, we can prevent those items from drifting downstream into rivers and, eventually, the ocean.
If you’d like to help, we’ll need a large group of volunteers to cover locations from Walthourville, Allenhurst, Hinesville, Flemington, down to Jones Creek, Riceboro and Colonel’s Island. We also still need site captains for some locations.
Registration for Rivers Alive begins at 8:45 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 25. We provide the clean-up supplies — gloves, safety vests, garbage bags, litter grabbers — as well as safety information. Although the clean-up effort is only for a couple hours, a good showing of volunteers can make a big difference.
With the help of our sponsor, SNF Chemtall, we will provide water, Rivers Alive T-shirts and lunch for all volunteers. Chemtall has been a great supporter of this event since it began here in 2006 and its help is greatly appreciated.
Rivers Alive is work, but volunteers always seem to enjoy the day. If you are tied up on Oct. 25, you can still help. We have a few groups who will clean areas on different days, so if you’d like to join them, call 368-4888 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to pre-register so we can ensure plenty of supplies and food for everyone.
Rivers Alive — and our waters — needs you. Make a commitment for a few hours and make a difference in our community on Oct. 25.
Upcoming Keep Liberty Beautiful projects that need YOUR involvement:
• Oct. 16: Coastal Living Holiday House. The house is loaded with ideas for holiday decorating and livng green. Tours begin Oct. 16 and proceeds will benefit our local United Way.
• Oct. 25: Munchkin Scarecrow contest at the Community Fall Festival. Help us recycle kids clothes for this fun event.
If you have children’s clothes that you would
like to donate for this recycling project, call 368-4888.
• Liberty County: Home of the world’s largest crayon. Help us make this Guinness Book of World Records project a reality by calling 368-4888 or e-mailing biglibertycrayon@ yahoo.com. The countdown has begun — we need all crayons by the end of October.
For more information on Keep Liberty County Beautiful programs, contact Swida at 368-4888 or e-mail email@example.com.