Thursday, October 10, 2002

"Make Clean Water Georgia's Future"

Exciting things are happening in Georgia's waterways. People young and old are stepping up and cleaning them, removing hundreds of pounds of garbage as part of Rivers Alive, Georgia's annual volunteer river cleanup event held throughout the month of October. The mission of Rivers Alive is to create awareness of and involvement in the preservation of Georgia's water resources including streams, rivers, lakes, and wetlands. During 2001's River Cleanup, more than 18,000 volunteers cleaned over 650 miles of waterways and removed 120,000 pounds of trash and garbage from the State's waterways.

So where is all this garbage coming from? Despite substantial investment to curb point source pollution, Georgia's wetlands, lakes, rivers, and streams continue to be threatened by non-point source pollution. Non-point source pollution is pollution that cannot be traced to a specific point, but rather comes from many individual places. Sources include sediment from soil erosion, oil and grease from cars, pesticides, fertilizers, yard clippings, and litter (cigarette butts, plastic cups and bottles, foam, glass, metal cans, and fishing line). Basically anything that can be carried to streams by storm water runoff from streets, parking lots, farmlands, and construction sites is non-point source pollution.

The good news is there still is hope for Georgia's waterways. Non-point source pollution isn't a consequence of growth and development it is a product of human abuse and neglect, but there are many things we can do to be the solution to water pollution.

* First and foremost, participate in a Rivers Alive event this October and help cleanup Georgia's waterways. For information visit Rivers Alive website or call 404-675-1636.
* Second, Recycle, Reduce, and Reuse.
* And third, think twice before dumping anything down a drain. Most storm drains are not connected to a sewer system; therefore, anything dumped down them goes directly into Georgia's streams and rivers.

For more information about pollution prevention contact the Department of Natural Resources, Pollution Prevention Assistance Division at 404-651-5120.

Check out Channel 430 Mondays at 12 PM and Wednesday at 9:30 AM during September and October to learn more about Rivers Alive and the work being done to monitor Georgia's waterways.

Water Facts:

* Georgia has 70,150 miles of streams and rivers.
* Our waterways provide us with fresh drinking water, great recreational opportunities like canoeing and fishing, and they serve as a pleasant respite from our busy day to day lives.
* October is the 30th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, Federal legislation to improve America's waterways.
* Our waterways support a diverse array of wildlife and are home to many species of fish and mollusks.
* There are 14 major Riverbasins in Georgia - Coosa, Flint, St. Mary's, Satilla, Suwannee, Tallapoosa, Tennessee, Altamaha, Ocmuglee, Oconee, Savannah, Chattahoochee, Ochlockonee and Ogeechee.
* The Metro Atlanta area depends on the Chattahoochee River for 80% of its water requirements.