Earth Day 2018: End Plastic Pollution
The Earth Day Network has designated 2018 as the year to End Plastic Pollution. You can use their form here to calculate your plastic consumption then designate how much you plan to reduce that consumption. You can also find their Plastics Pollution Teach-In Toolkit here.
Plastic littered on the ground washes into rivers and eventually makes it way to the ocean. Due to the nature of ocean currents, there are five spots around the world, in the centers of the oceans, where this plastic collects. It is estimated that over 5 trillion pieces of plastic currently litter the ocean. The largest of these sites is located in the Pacific Ocean between Hawaii and California, and has been named the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP). Marine life can become entangled in and trapped by the larger pieces of plastic. These large pieces also break down into smaller pieces, called microplastics, which can be mistaken for food by marine life, endangering their health.
Lake Erie Algae
Check out this video and other information about Harmful Algae Blooms from the National Center for Water Quality Research at Heidelberg University
What is a watershed?
A watershed is any area of land where surface water drains into a common body of water. If water from a neighborhood drains into a particular ditch,then that neighborhood shares a common watershed. Where ditches from several neighborhoods drain into a creek or brook, then all of those neighborhoods share a common watershed. Likewise, a watershed would include the geographical area of all creeks and brooks that drain into a river. Essentially, the quality of water in any watershed affects all living things within that watershed, no matter how large or small that watershed may be.
In our area of northwest Ohio, you might live within a watershed that is drained by Eagle creek or Riley creek or any number of other creeks. Since those creeks empty into the Blanchard River, you can also say that you live in the Blanchard River Watershed.
On a larger scale, you can claim that you live in the Maumee River watershed because the Blanchard flows into the Auglaize River, which then flows into the Maumee. Of course, the Maumee River flows into Lake Erie, which means that you are a part of the Great Lakes Watershed, too.
Interestingly, just a few hundred yards south of the headwaters of the Blanchard River in Kenton, Ohio, water flows to the Scioto River, which flows to the Ohio River and on to the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico. So folks who live in the north end of Kenton have something in common with folks in Montreal, Canada, where water from the Great Lakes flows past on its way to the Gulf of St. Lawrence, while residents in the south part of Kenton have something in common with folks in New Orleans, near the mouth of the Mississippi River.
Rain barrels are not new, but are making a come back. Up until the 60’s many homes used methods of collecting rainwater, such as open barrels and cisterns. Many rural homes still use some method of collecting rainwater today. However, in urban areas, the development of municipal water systems and health concerns made the collection of rain water a thing of the past. But, with many municipal water systems reaching or nearing their capacity and the increased cost of municipal water, rain barrels are being revived as a method of collecting and storing rainwater to be used to water plants and other uses.
Pervious pavement is designed to allow percolation or infiltration of stormwater through the surface into the soil below, where the water is naturally filtered and pollutants are removed. In contrast normal pavement is an impervious surface that sheds rainfall and associated surface pollutants forcing the water to run off paved surfaces directly into nearby storm drains and then into streams and lakes.
To learn more about pervious pavements Click here