The environmental impacts of polluted runoff
Polluted runoff is a major problem throughout the United States and the rest of the world.Whenever it rains, a large toxic of chemicals and bacteria flow out of our cities and fields and into our waterways. Eventually, these pollutants can lead to the poisioning of aquatic wildlife or the creation of vast dead zones where there isn't enough oxygen for marine life to survive.Therefore, our beachers and rives can be unsafe for swimming and other recreational activites due to high bacteria levels and other toxins.
It is known that polluted runoff is produced by two main processes. The first is called urban runoff. This happens when rain falls in our urban and suburban areas, or when we over-water our lawns and wash our cars, driveways and sidewalks. This runoff carries pollutants such as oil from our cars,pet waste,various toxic metals htat eroded from cars and other household chemicals that are dumped in streets, driveways and yards.
The other process is when runoff occurs because we apply too much water to irrigated agriculutral and landscaped areas.The excess water that can't be used for plants or can't filter into the soil runs off into ditches,canals,street and storm drains. This excess irrigation water can carry huge quantities of pesticides, herbicides, or nutrients that are harmful in surface water.
So, what can we do to reduce runoff? Well, we can capture and reuse stormwater for irrigation. For example, by installing rain barrels or cisterns at the end of gutter downpouts, desiging some landscaping areas to function as rain gardens,installing dry wells. Anther method would reducing paved sufaces because runoff comes from our rooftops, drivewars and paved pathways. We could also consider to plant trees that grow over paved surfaces or rooftops and practice good housekeeping by cleaning up after our pets, resuding the use of toxic pesticides and herbicides and using lower-strength organic fertilizers.