By now, you’ve certainly heard all the locals talk about waterway pollution. What’s being done about it? Actually, quite a lot!
You may have seen volunteers in their blue safety vests on your street. Maybe they were installing markers on storm drain inlets, or going house to house leaving information on doors. Did someone approach you at a dog park or along a pathway to offer you a pet waste bag dispenser?
The storm drain inlet markers help raise awareness that anything (anything!) that goes down a storm drain ends up flowing directly into the nearest waterway. When leaves are blown into the drains, they reduce the level of dissolved oxygen for aquatic organisms living in the water as they decompose. This makes the water uninhabitable for fish and other key predators, causing mosquitoes and leeches to flourish.
When dog waste – bagged or not – is left in the environment, bacteria leach into nearby waters after it rains. Did you know that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has designated waterways in the Township as “Impaired for Contact Recreation?” That means the bacteria level is so high it presents a health hazard for humans and wildlife. By giving away the dispensers, volunteers help remind dog owners to “bag it and trash it”.
Did you pass by when one of the local scout troops was collecting litter and happened to notice trash on a big blue tarp? The group surrounding it was sorting and counting litter to report into the Keep Texas Beautiful Litter Database as part of the Trash Free Waters Program. To date 175 volunteers have added more than a dozen reports with counts of nearly 50 different items. Did you know that that most often littered item in our parks is empty water bottles, followed closely by cigarette butts?
These are some examples of environmental volunteering at its best: a diversity of ways to improve our local water resources! We all get to benefit from their commitment and service to a cleaner community. And what an impact these hard-working residents are making! In the first half of 2023, the litter volunteers plus an additional 146 others reported a total of 573 hours of service on projects highlighted above.
If the health of our community’s environment matters to you, join our corps of volunteers! Help clean up our waterways and inform residents how to avoid unintended polluting. There is still more to do and many different ways to help. Register as a volunteer to get started: YES, I’ll Help! Have a question? Email email@example.com