By Maria Bohan
One of the most beautiful features of the Sisters of Saint Dominic of Blauvelt New York’s Motherhouse grounds is its large pond and fountain.
The water creates a tranquil atmosphere and is home to fish, birds, and even groundhogs (who live on the pond’s banks).
Water plays an important role in life as we know it, not only because all creatures need it to survive, but because it gives us opportunities for recreation and to enjoy the beauty of our planet.
Unfortunately, human activities pollute many of our nation’s waterways.
August is National Water Quality Month and throughout the month, we can all make an effort to stop bad habits that negatively impact water quality.
Here are some tips for limiting water pollution, courtesy of drinktap.org.
· Always sweep your driveway to keep it clean, rather than hosing it off.
· Use a commercial car wash — cleaning your car at home flushes dangerous chemicals down the storm drain and directly into our lakes and streams.
· Pick up after your dog.
· Dispose of used motor oil properly - one quart of motor oil can contaminate more than 250,000 gallons of water.
· Don’t overuse pesticides or fertilizers as they can travel through runoff and soil and contaminate ground water.
· Help pick up litter on the streets that could end up going down the storm drain or seeping into our waterways.
· Use detergents that are phosphate-free to save our lakes and streams.
· Join in a beach, stream, or wetlands cleanup project.
· Properly dispose of prescription medications and other products that are too often flushed down the toilet, into the wastewater system and out to the environment. Consult with your local health department for information on proper disposal in your community.
Following these simple suggestions can make a large difference for the health of our environment—and remember that even after this month ends, it’s important to respect our waters.
Maria Bohan is a Volunteer for the Communications and Development Office at the Sisters of Saint Dominic of Blauvelt, New York. She is a student at Bryn Mawr College majoring in English and a graduate of Pearl River High School.