Storm drain at Maria Carrillo High School (Photo: Raffaella Bravo, The Puma Prensa)
by Raffaella Bravo, staff writer
Even though rain has many benefits, it also highlights the pollution problem with stormwater runoff.
While it seems like a minor issue, stormwater runoff is responsible for about 30 percent of the pollutants in natural waters, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Stormwater runoff can be polluted by toxins in fertilizers, paint, vehicle fluids, oil and garbage.
Storm drains are also a crucial contributing factor to preventing flooding and quickly getting rid of excess water. However, the storm drains do not filter out any of the toxins found in the water. This is a joint problem since it stems from a variety of tiny sources that, when combined, generate a significant issue. The stormwater runoff pollution goes into lakes and streams, causing damage to natural ecosystems.
Annie Meisler, a sophomore at Maria Carrillo High School, said, “I didn’t even know that it was such a big problem, I have not even considered it.”. Additionally, Lorenzo Parker, a sophomore, stated that now that he knows about the problem.“I wish it was talked about more often, so I know how to prevent it from happening and how we could help our community,” he said. Kate Sevier, also a sophomore, said, “I would never think that stormwater drains would have such a big impact on our entire world’s water pollution.”
These students agree that this problem is not talked about enough and that more information and awareness need to be brought up. Because of this, it is essential to know what ways people can assist with this problem and how to be extra cautious, especially in the rainy season. It starts with keeping vehicles in good condition to ensure that no fluids leak and flow into storm drains. In gardens, using fewer fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides can help. Instead, use organic garden products to limit the number of pollutants created.
Students from MCHS are involved in this issue; we have a lot of plastic litter on our campus that won’t decompose properly. Plastic water bottles, for example, may break down into microplastics, causing harm to fish and other wildlife. Overall, being more aware of actions and how they might affect the natural environment is crucial. Even the small steps that you take individually benefit ecosystems.