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We are the pollution solution
Keep Liberty Beautiful
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Water pollution. Just the words erradicate any thirst I had. In the next few weeks, as we gear up for waterway cleanups around our county, you may wonder why they are necessary. We have to do something to remove the tons of litter and debris that end up in our water. I don’t want to drink it. Do you?
In today’s society, we have a tendency to blame big companies and industries for all of our social and environmental problems. The reality, however, is that the greatest threat to the quality and health of our waterways is stormwater pollution. So, who is to blame for stormwater pollution or, as it is often called, nonpoint source pollution? We are — you and me.
When rain or water from irrigation systems flows over our streets and yards in town, it carries pollutants into the storm drains. These pollutants can be things like litter, cigarette butts, motor oil, pesticides or even pet waste — things careless people toss on the ground or down storm drains. The pollutants then flow directly — without treatment — into local creeks, streams, rivers and, eventually, to the ocean. Isn’t that a gross thought?
These pollutants significantly impact our water quality as well as wildlife and aquatic ecosystems.
Here is the good news: We can do something about this. We — you and I — are the solution to water pollution. Here are some handy tips from the Earth 911 that we can all use in our daily lives to reduce stormwater pollution.
Yard and grass clippings can reach local waterways when they wash into storm drains. Keep green waste out of storm drains. Try “grasscycling” or backyard composting. Grasscycling is the practice of leaving clippings on the lawn after mowing. The clippings quickly decompose, returning nutrients to the soil.
Backyard composting allows nature to break down green waste. When you mix grass clippings, weeds, trimmings and water in a bin, beneficial insects and microorganisms decompose the mixture into finished compost. It can be spread on the soil as mulch.
Fertilizers, which also are washed into drains and carried to our water sources, promote algae growth in waterways. When algae decompose, the oxygen levels in the water are depleted, which can be devastating to aquatic life.
When using fertilizers, follow application instructions, do not overwater and don’t apply it if rain is forecasted.
Pesticides we commonly used to maintain our lawns are toxic to the environment. Testing has shown that even small amounts of common pesticides may be lethal to animals. So try non-toxic alternatives for pest control. Never throw pesticides in the trash or into a storm drain.
Each year, more than 180 million gallons of motor oil are disposed of illegally by people who change the oil in their trucks and cars. Never put motor oil in the trash, pour it on the ground or dump it down a storm drain. Recycle it. Many local auto service businesses accept used motor oil.
And last, remember to properly dispose of pet waste. Waste can contain harmful bacteria and organisms that spread disease. Pick up pet waste, seal it in a plastic bag and dispose of it in a garbage can. Don’t ever hose pet waste into storm drains.

KLCB announcements that you can use to help save the environment:
• Saturday, Oct. 10: Annual St Catherine’s Island Beach Sweep We need boats and volunteers. Call today for information.
• Thursday, Oct. 22: Progress through People Luncheon. The program will address the impact of people on coastal waters. Call 368-4445 for reservations.
• Oct. 24: The annual Rivers Alive Cleanups in Liberty County.
• Keep your “butts” off the streets and sidewalks! Cigarette litter needs to be disposed of properly. For a free pocket ashtray, call 368-4888.

For more information on Keep Liberty County Beautiful programs, contact Swida at 368-4888 or
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