We could gather them up, properly dispose of the toxic chemicals they hold, and rest easy knowing our grandchildren will always have a safe, usable water source. Unfortunately, the only obvious truth staring us in the face is the high cost of pollution – air, water, and soil pollution kills three times more people around the world than AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria combined.
What turns groundwater contamination into one of the leading causes of water pollution is far more insidious. But the little things we can do to prevent pollution of all sorts can make a big difference, as noted by the Environmental Protection Agency. In 2011, for example, Americans using products with the DfE (Design for the Environment) symbol cut the use of harmful chemicals by 756 million pounds!
What else can we do? We’re glad you asked:
• Properly dispose of your Christmas tree. Turning it into a nutritious mulch is far better than throwing the whole thing in a landfill and replaces the chemical fertilizers that seep their way into our water supplies. (While you’re in the yard, pick up your dog’s waste, too. It matters!)
• Do you have a generator prepared to carry you through power outages this winter? Make sure it is outdoors, and far from windows, doors, and vents. It releases toxic amounts of carbon dioxide, which can quickly build up and hang around for hours. Never use a gas stove, oven, or dryer to heat your house, for the same reason.
• Remember that DfE label we mentioned above? Look for it or EPA’s Safer Choice designation on the de-icer you bring home to clear your walkways this winter. While road salt works great at melting away winter’s ice, the run-off is one of water’s most common winter contaminants.
• While you’re at it, celebrate National Radon Action Month this January by having your home tested. Known for causing lung cancer, radon typically builds up in the winter when we have our windows and doors closed tight. And before you toss our advice to the wind, consider this: one in every 15 homes across the country show unacceptable levels of radon. Don’t let yours be one of them!
Every action we take, in our homes, in our communities, and through our operations at the Granger-Hunter Improvement District, does make a difference!