National Water Quality Month
Although vital for plants, excess nitrogen and phosphorus contribute to algae blooms, fish die-offs, and bad odors and cloudy appearance in ponds, lakes and streams. Nitrogen in drinking water can be harmful to humans, even at low levels. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), one way to significantly reduce water pollution from agriculture and households is to apply fertilizers in the proper amount, at the right time of year and with the right method.
Further, The EPA reports that 40 percent of the U.S. waterways suffer water quality problems. It has created a watershed database, which allows users to locate the area they live in and learn about how polluted the water is and what actions they can take to protect their regional water quality. Clean Water Action California also offers a factsheet on what individuals and families can do to prevent water pollution from their homes:
- not using antibacterial soaps or cleaning products
- not flushing unwanted or out-of-date medications down the toilet or drain
- not putting anything but water down storm drains
- fixing leaks that drop from cars and putting liners in driveways to collect oil and other materials
- avoiding using pesticides or chemical fertilizers
- choosing nontoxic household products whenever possible
- cleaning up after pets
Protecting the oceans and lakes of our planet is a responsibility that we all share: both individuals and industrial entities. As with most issues in this world, it’s the little things we do that matter. As such, let us start improving our waterways: one lawn at a time.