2016 Be Freshwater Friendly Essay Contest Winner

Below is the entry from GREEN Charter School Sixth grader Dawson Leipprandt, who was the winner of the 2016 Be Freshwater Friendly essay contest:

Humans can’t survive without water. Plants and animals can’t survive without water. So why do we pollute when it is so important? People should become freshwater friendly by knowing how to take care of the environment outside and what to do inside their homes. Renewable Water Resources (ReWa) addresses this issue and is trying to clean and protect the public health and water quality. ReWa has implemented seven “Be Fresh Water Friendly” initiatives. Two of these are Pipe Patrol and Poop Etiquette.

ReWa’s Pipe patrol is an educational campaign to help teach about the dangers of putting fats, oils and grease (FOG) down the drain. There are several foods that should be thrown away in a trash can because they are unhealthy for the pipes (blockages) and environment. Plant and animal foods contain high amounts of phosphorus and nitrogen. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), too much nitrogen and phosphorous in the water causes algae to grow faster than ecosystem can handle. As a result, significant increases in algae harm water quality, food resources and habitats while they decrease the oxygen that fish and other aquatic life need to survive. By limiting and being conscious of what is poured down drains and garbage disposals, we are helping to lower the amount of pollution affecting bodies of water and our health.

The more than 78 million dogs living in the United State create 10 million tons of waste annually – polluting waterways and potentially harming public health, according to Doody Calls, a pest waste removal company. ReWa has implemented a program called Poop Etiquette. This initiative teaches pet owners about the dangers associated with not scooping pet wastes and gives suggestions on how to properly dispose of the waste. Pet waste contains harmful bacteria and nutrients that pollute our water and can make people sick. When waste is left behind, it washes into storm drains and ditches. From drains, it can move straight to local lakes and rivers, taking the harmful bacteria with it. Simply scooping the poop and throwing it away in a trash can or flushing it down the toilet significantly reduces the amount of pollution entering the water.

ReWa’s Be Fresh Water Friendly campaign is teaching the public on how small changes in our everyday actions can have a tremendous impact on our rivers, lakes and streams. These are just two suggestions that could really change our environment for the better. If people were to follow all seven initiatives, imagine how clean our water supply better our health would be? Education and awareness through ReWa’s campaign will protect aquatic life, provide clean drinking water and save our water supply. People, plants and animals cannot survive without water. Let’s do our part to clean and protect our water, environment and health for years to come.