Guest Author - Pam Cartwright
Earth Day…it’s a celebration of our aliveness. Is that a word? I don’t know, but it sounds right. Anyway, Earth Day in our lifetime is all about how we can impact our world…..saving things that need to be saved and maybe even some that don’t. Mostly, we are just trying to change our world, hoping to make it better. Since this site is dedicated to the Great Lakes states, it seems appropriate to change the world in and around the Great Lakes.
A major promotion of Earth Day this year is protection and preservation of a good water supply in the Great Lakes. Since this is an ongoing green crusade, it’s a good thing for residents and visitors alike to know. The Great Lakes are a major supplier of water to a great deal of the states east of the Mississippi River. Because of this, everything we do regarding the water supply affects thousands, possibly millions of people. Preserving a clean, fresh water supply is important for our lifetime and future generations also.
Recent news reports have been telling us about drug residue found in our drinking water. Most authorities believe that a large portion of this is caused by people dumping their outdated and/or unused drugs into the toilet or sending them to landfills. In either case, they end up in our water. We can all help by making sure that these drugs are disposed of properly. Many hospitals have programs that allow them to take in and dispose of these drugs. If they are unable to take them, ask for a referral to a business who handles this type of refuse.
In addition to medicines, there are other ways that our water supplies get contaminated. One major contributor is electrical waste from computers, peripherals, cameras and other items like these. These should be disposed of at proper disposal sites. Most cities and towns now have recycling centers where these can be taken. If not, check with your local salvage yard or a solid waste disposal company.
Turn off the water when you are brushing your teeth or shaving. Take showers rather than baths. Limit the use of sunscreens and personal care products when swimming.
Of course, one of the easiest ways to make an impact is to make sure that what we put down the drain should be there. Motor oils and gasoline are not good additives to our water supply. Likewise, pesticides, weed killers and fertilizers should be used minimally or not at all.
Batteries and fluorescent light bulbs contain harmful chemicals. They can leach out at landfills and become a major contaminant. Take them to a disposal site.
Old paints, paint thinners, etc., are contaminants and should be disposed of appropriately.
Lastly, remember that Earth Day in many cities and towns is a “free fer” day. Salvage yards, solid waste disposal companies and even your local government may have an Earth Day program that lets them take contaminating items in without charging a disposal fee. Check it out. Help save the water.