If you saw my previous post about adopting a storm drain and thought it was pretty ridiculous, you’re not alone! Let me introduce you to something even crazier…marking storm drains! But hear me out, by marking storm drains, you are reminding your neighbors about the impact of their decisions. Here are some not-so-fun facts according to the Ocean Conservancy:
- Fertilizers, pesticides, street litter, sediment, automotive fluids, and pet waste can pollute water hundreds of miles away from their source.
- In our very own Chesapeake Bay watershed, which covers 64,000 miles, pollutants can travel to the Bay from as far away as Cooperstown, New York or rural farms in Pennsylvania.
- Toxics like oil and antifreeze in our waterways can affect GENERATIONS of people.
- Fertilizer runoff can cause growths of algae blooms, which rob the water of sunlight and oxygen (both are needed to create life). Here’s a real life example. Farms in the Midwest have leaked so much fertilizer into the Mississippi River that there is now a “dead spot” in the Gulf Of Mexico that is the size of Massachusetts!
- Scientists estimate that each year 1 million birds and 100,000 marine animals die for ingestion or strangulation from marine litter.
- 22,000 bodies of water in the United States are listed by the Environmental Protection Agency as “impaired” due to pollution.
- When heavy rain causes sewer backups, the water mixes with storm drain water and can pollute our waterways and oceans, making them unsafe for swimming.
I hope you’re starting to realize that something as crazy as storm drain pollution is making big impacts in our environment. While sewer systems drain to a plant where the water is treated, storm drains trickle to our local waterways and our local reservoirs of water for in case of emergency use. So ya that zombie apocalypse, what kind of water would you want to be using??
Changing our world takes many small actions, and adopting or marking storm drains is definitely a small difference with potential to make a huge impact. Marking storm drains was not only a fun family experience, it was a great way to teach our kids about volunteering, our ecosystem and the effects of pollution. In Virginia Beach, contact the Public Works Storm Water Program to sign up (click the link for the email). You can even select how many plaques you want to seal (they say you earn one hour of volunteer service for every 7 plaques, but it wasn’t quite that time intensive for us, even with toddlers in tow). These programs exist all over the country, so be sure to check with your local Public Works to help out or start one near you! We loaded up the minimal supplies and hit the neighborhood streets.
Not going to lie, I shamelessly looked up a YouTube tutorial on how to use a caulk gun. But a few blood blisters later, I started getting the hang of it!
We spent a nice afternoon bonding over making our earth a better place. Will you? Don’t forget to contact your local Public Works to make a difference in your neighborhood.