Our Turn: Aquatic Pollution
How we can keep Northwoods lakes and rivers beautiful
By Emily Gregesich
7th Grade, NCSS
Did you know that many people each day pollute lakes and rivers just by doing their daily normal activities? It’s true! People pollute our lakes and rivers without even knowing it! There are two different types of aquatic pollution; point source pollution and non-point source pollution.
Point source pollution is when garbage or toxic liquid is discharged into lakes and rivers from pipes. These pipes mostly come from factories. An example of this is when a factory needs to get rid of some sort of waste; they discharge the waste through pipes that lead to a lake or river.
However, most factories don’t do that anymore because of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
In June of 1984, the EPA started to make sure that factories were following the Clean Air Act. According to people from the EPA, that is why factories don’t pollute as much as they used to. Non-point source pollution is when chemicals that are in rain or snow runoff enter a lake or river. Usually, the chemicals come from oil, gasoline, or fluids from vehicles. For example, if there is a rain storm and your car has an oil leak, the rain can hit the oil and flow down to a river or lake.
Then the rain and oil gets into the lake or river. That is an example of non-point pollution. Phosphorous pollution is when we flush toilets that have been cleaned with chemicals, dishwasher detergent, and fertilizer for our lawns. Phosphorus pollution is a major issue in the Northwoods. An example of phosphorous pollution is when we the fertilizer we use on our lawns has phosphorous in it.
If it rains, or if you water your lawn, the contaminated water runs off into a lake or river. This example is non-point source pollution. Phosphorous pollution can affect our lakes and rivers by killing fish, ruining fishing spots and beaches, and phosphorus causes algae to spread. These are some of the different ways that Wisconsin’s lakes and rivers are being polluted. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) tries to make sure that all of Wisconsin’s lakes and rivers are healthy.
However, even though the DNR is working to keep Wisconsin’s lakes and rivers healthy, we have to do everything we can to help them, too. We can help by washing dishes using dish soap that does not affect the environment, using fertilizer that doesn’t have phosphorous in it or not using fertilizer at all, fixing any leaks on your cars, or removing any litter floating around in a lake or river. Those are some different ways that we can help our lakes and rivers be more healthy. Wisconsin is a very beautiful place with all of the wildlife, lakes and rivers. So if we want to keep it that way, we have to do everything that we can to keep it clean and healthy.