10 Easy Things You Can Do to Protect Your Precious Waterways
Be Considerate of Wildlife
Our trash can damage or kill wildlife easily, but it is easy to prevent these tragedies. Never dispose of fishing line or nets in the water. Don't release helium balloons outside. Minimize your use of Styrofoam. Cut open plastic six-pack rings that can entangle life
Reduce Household Toxins
The fewer herbicides and pesticides you spray, the fewer you will swim in! By using natural fertilizer, phosphate-free detergents and non-toxic cleaning products, you can ensure healthier waterways and a cleaner overall environment.
It's easy to avoid contributing to nonpoint source pollution! Put trash in the can instead of the gutter. Use soap sparingly when washing your car. If you must use chemicals on your lawn, don't spray on a windy day or when rain is expected. And scoop pet waste – an estimated 15 tons of pet waste flows into waterways and ends up in the ocean every day!
Fixing car leaks and recycling used motor oil can prevent oil pollution from running into surface waters.
With just a little effort, we can all save water every day. Use low-flow showerheads and faucets, take shorter showers and repair leaky faucets to help our oceans.
Eat Sustainable Seafood
Not all seafood is created equal. Some seafood choices, like wild fish from healthy populations, are good for the ocean, while others are harmful. For a list of smart seafood choices, see Sourcing Seafood. For more information on ocean-friendly seafood, visit the Seafood Choices Alliance at www.seafoodchoices.org.
Keep plastic out of the Ocean
The ocean is awash with non-biodegradable plastic debris, some of it so finely-ground that it is digested by microscopic plankton, the basis of the oceanic food chain. Keep plastic out of the ocean by reducing the amount of plastic you use. Avoid plastic bags by using reusable shopping bags. Refill plastic water bottles. Recycle plastic, or dispose of it with care. Biodegradable plastic products made from corn, food starch, and sugar cane are now available.
Think about how your food is produced
Run-off from modern conventional agricultural practices is one of the major contributors to the amount of EDCs (endocrine disrupting hormones) in the waterways and ocean. By supporting organic farming and buying organic food you will keep the oceans healthy, and decrease the poisons in you and your children. Support locally-grown food by shopping at local farmers' markets.
Support local organizations
Find a local, small, non-profit organization working to protect our waterways and oceans, such as San Diego Coastkeeper or I Love A Clean San Diego, and get involved. That way you will learn more about the problems we face, and can become a more effective part of the solution.
Pollution in the waterways comes from many sources, especially industry. The burning of coal releases mercury, a neuro-toxin that is found in heavy concentrations in tuna and swordfish. Dioxins from paper bleaching and agriculture, are affecting hormone systems. We all need to learn more about how the way we live is affecting the world we live in, and begin to pressure our government to invest in alternative energy sources and green industrial practices.
Spread the Word!
Talk to friends and family about the problems - and the solutions – that impact our waterways. Write letters to the editors of your local newspapers calling attention to marine issues.