2000-04-28 / Letters

DEP offers some ways to prevent pollution

T his month New Jersey’s Department of Environmen-tal Protection will award $13.4 million in Clean Communities grants to counties and municipalities for anti-litter campaigns across the Garden State.

The relationship between litter on our streets and water pollution is clear. Whatever hits the sidewalks and gutters of our towns, washes into our storm drains and out into streams, rivers and lakes. As individuals, we must actively pursue the goal of clean water through cleaner streets in our own communities. Here are a few ways to do that:

• Fertilizers — Fertilizers contain nitrates and phosphates that, in abundance, cause blooms of algae that can lead to fish kills. Avoid overuse of fertilizers and do not apply them prior to heavy rainfall.

• Pesticides — Many household products made to exterminate pests also are toxic to humans, animals, aquatic organisms and plants. Use alternatives whenever possible. If you do use a pesticide, follow the label directions to the letter.

• Household hazardous products — Many common household products (paint thinners, mothballs, drain and oven cleaners, to name only a few) contain toxic ingredients. Do not discard with the regular household trash. Use natural and less toxic alternatives whenever possible. Contact your county solid waste management office for information regarding household hazardous waste.

• Pet waste — Animal waste contains bacteria and viruses that can contaminate shellfish and cause the closing of bathing beaches. Pet owners should always clean up after their pets and dispose of waste in the garbage or toilet.

• Boating discharges — Dumping boat sewage overboard introduces bacteria and viruses into the water. Boat owners should always use marine sanitation devices and pump out facilities in marinas.

Bob Shinn

Commissioner

N.J. Department

of Environmental Protection

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