• by: Amaka Chugbo
  • recipient: Los Angeles Mayor, Eric Garcetti
Storm water pollution is an issue that is taken very lightly. Just imagining that once the trash hits the ground it gets washed up in a storm drain made me think about marine life. People are failing to realize that the trash released into the ocean is all by human actions. We have all the resources to properly dispose our trash, but do not utilize them. The overall knowledge people have about the impact of polluted storm water is very minimal. “When it rains the rain collects and transports items such as animal waste, metal, litter, salt, pesticides, oil, grease, and other pollutants”, according to New York Storm Water Coalition. After it rains all the water gets transported through a storm drain and into the ocean, immediately putting marine life in danger. As the mayor of Los Angeles, you should implement solutions to stop polluting our water that serves various purposes. Implementing stricter rules by making homes use low maintenance plants and reducing impervious surfaces at homes. Everyday a life is put at risk over polluted storm water.
“Polluted storm water affects the overall chemistry of oceans, lakes, wetlands, rivers, and streams”, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. “Metal, when it enters the water, already carries toxins that harm the marine life”, according to National Geographic. People go fishing and put their lives at risk not knowing if the fish contains pollutants. Marine life is dying at asubstantial rate everyday. Once the fish consume the waste transported in the ocean, humans consume the fish without knowing and get sick. “Excess fertilizers and pesticides can poison aquatic animals and lead to destructive algae blooms”, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
All these waterbodies serve as a way for people to go swimming or to use as drinking water. Imagine not being able to go swimming anymore or drink water from the lake because people cannot stop polluting the water. Polluted storm water puts people’s health at risk and increases the cost for water treatment.“Polluted water contains enteric pathogens”, according to The National Center for Biotechnology Information. Enteric pathogens are pathogens that live inside of a human’s intestines. Pathogens in human intestines carry a number of infectious diseases if left untreated. Swimmers who swim in sewage polluted water could contract any illness that is spread by migration and unconsciously ingesting fecal contaminated water. In “Catch a wave, and a bug”, Matthew King discusses about how a single storm can sweep billions of gallons of polluted runoff directly into Santa Monica Bay. “King suffered for two days of fitful sleep and numerous trips to the bathroom”, according to Catch a wave, and a bug. Many citizens are not aware of waiting 72 hours after rainfall to go swimming in the ocean. Waiting 72 hours after rainfall is important because only a days worth of rainfall releases about 10 billion gallons of runoff into Santa Monica Bay. According to Matthew King director of Heal the Bay, “Rain water in the ocean is untreated and unchecked and it is equivalent of about 100 Rose Bowl stadiums’ worth of dirty water.”
We, as a community, can just sit here and watch all these bodies of water deteriorate or we can help reduce the problem. I am asking to take further action on this issue. All it takes is for one person to change their ways of doing a task. Possible solutions include going to car washes instead of washing your own car or to wash your car over your lawn or gravel.“Untreated urban runoff collected from an auto parts facility near Los Angeles for over several years repeatedly killed 20 percent or more of the minnows exposed to it”, according to the National Resources Defense Council.“Washing your car on gravel or a lawn helps the excess chemicals from the soap to percolate or soak into the ground where the soil acts as a natural filter”, according to the New York Storm Water Coalition.Driving less and using bicycles as a mean of transportation helps reduce the amount of oil and grease leaking from vehicles. Limiting the use of garden chemicals or switching to organic alternatives helps reduce the amount of waste in the water.Some organic alternatives include coffee grounds, egg shells, compost, wood ash, legumes, orange peels, and vinegar. We should focus on more beach cleanups and fine citizens who litter. Implement mandatory environmental courses into schools and at jobs to improve overall knowledge about the environment. I had no knowledge of the danger marine life goes through before guest speakers from Heal the Bay and Algalita spoke to my classroom. Many people do not have the opportunity to have guest speakers notify them about how our human actions are impacting marine life and humans too.Without the proper knowledge of the problem a solution cannot be reached. People have to know how they are affecting marine life to make different life choices.
In addition to providing recycling bins, each county should be provided with compost bins. Compost bins are outdoor containers where garden waste and other organic waste is transferred in order to produce a compost. A compost can have items such as kitchen waste and grass cuttings.
All these solutions I listed are only a few; there are many ways to stop storm water pollution.With the help of our mayor to implement and regulate these rules as a community we can save our marine life and stop polluting our water. We, as a community, have to step up to the plate to protect our environment because we have only one. We should not harm the helpless marine life over actions that can be changed with a little knowledge.
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