How Can I Be Freshwater Friendly?

By Jenny Zhang

5th Grader at GREEN Charter School

JennyDid you know that when fertilizing your garden, you could actually be polluting the environment? Did you know that dog poo can cause pollution? Did you know that the fat, oil and grease that you pour down the drain will dispense into freshwater rivers and streams? Maybe you didn’t. Well, now you do. Many lakes, rivers and streams are already polluted and though some people are doing their best to stop it, there is simply too much. There is no way to stop the pollution, but there is something you can do to reduce pollution and make your world a better place.

Do you have a dog? When do you take it out for walks? Does it ever poop? Most people might not think that dog poop can pollute the environment, but it can. Dog poop contains phosphate and nitrogen as well as fecal bacteria which can harm your grass and other plant life. One way you can reduce this sort of pollution is to be a responsible owner and pick up after it. To help, you can attach a small box to your dog’s collar that is filled with plastic bags. If all dog owners could do such a simple task, the pollution would be slowed considerably.

Have you ever washed your car? Do you wash it on the driveway or the grass? Every time people wash their cars on a driveway, the oily, gritty, soap gets washed down a storm drain. People don’t think much of the water that goes down or where it goes down. They don’t even realize that because they washed their car on a driveway, lives could be lost. Sure these lives are small and aren’t all that important, but they are still lives. Every time a car is washed on a driveway, dirty water goes in the storm drains. These drains lead down to a river, lake or stream where fish and other living things die because of the pollution. One way to prevent this unnecessary death is to wash your car on the grass instead so the grass can soak up the water. Sure, some water would still go down but not enough to kill.

When plant lovers buy plants, they buy them because they love plants and want to care for them and make them look pretty. However, when the plant starts to wilt and get weird for no reason, the plant lover always thinks that is because the plant is missing nutrients. Well, you’re right. Sort of. The plant is missing ingredients, but not always nutrients that you think it needs. So when the plant lover goes to the store to buy fertilizer, they buy the good, expensive brands and leave. However, a few weeks later when the plant doesn’t get better and instead gets even more wilted and dies, you’re all sad and throw it away and buy a new one and the cycle continues. Unfortunately, the light bulb doesn’t usually go off and the person understands why the plants are dying. Well, you know why the plants are dying? They don’t like you. Just kidding. It’s actually because the plant is getting the wrong nutrient. For example, plant A needs fertilizer A, while plant B needs fertilizer B, but plant B got fertilizer A and plant A got fertilizer B. Even worse than the plant dying, (sniff sniff) the amount of the unneeded nutrient causes pollution! A way to stop it is to buy one of the little kits at the store (again) that tests your plant’s soil to find out what nutrient it needs and buy the right fertilizer.

Be sure to try and reduce pollution, you might think about how little one person can do, but remember: small changes, big impact. Everyone can make a difference. What I’ve told you today is only a few things that pollute the world. There are many more. So remember, try and reduce the amount of chemicals used, as well as being responsible and picking up doggy poop. Make this place a better world for the future. Be freshwater friendly.