Wednesday, September 21, 2011

5 Ways to protect watersheds

National and state parks are treasures. Annually, millions of people visit national parks in the US. They come, see and sometimes they leave trash behind. No only does the trash endanger wildlife but much of it eventually winds up in streams and lakes.

1. Removing trash after a picnic outdoors is one simple thing that we can all do. Backcountry campers should take care to 'leave no trace'. To protect watersheds, all park visitors and campers should dispose of all trash at home or use the receptacles provided by the parks. Under no circumstances is it ok to leave the smallest bit of trash behind.

2. The river is not a dump. Don't pollute it or the area around a river with tires or other debris. Recycle these items when possible to eliminate the risk of them accidentally contaminating streams, creeks or other bodies of water. You can also help protect watersheds by promptly reporting illegal dumping.

3. Help protect watersheds by participating in a clean up effort. Earth Day is a popular time for clean up efforts. Watch the newspapers for information or call the public works department in your town.

4. Use biodegradable cleaning supplies whenever possible. Planetgreen tells us that some cleaners do not dissolve in water and can contaminate watersheds.

5. Recycle when possible. CleanWatershed.org tells us that glass bottles can stay intact for up to 1 million years and accounts for 6% of all waste. Plastic bottles stay around for about 450 years. Recycling saves landfill space and can keep waters from becoming contaminated with chemicals or debris.

Protecting watersheds is everyone's business. Please do your part to help.

Related 
What to recycle and where in McMinn County, TN
CVS Greenbagtag save money and recycle
Tennessee green energy sources