So often in the summer, we as Canadians think of heading to the cottage. And yet many of our cities are filled with waterways. There was a time when we were able to swim here in the city. When we could catch a fish and eat it.
I am not just reminiscing about the good old days. There are communities that have focused on cleaning up their waterways so that we can swim and fish and play right in our own backyards. There are communities where people have worked together with companies, real estate developers, municipalities and all levels of government to ensure clean water.
Interestingly it doesn’t take long. With restraint by people, nature can heal herself. I decided to try fishing in the urban core and I am proud to say that I did catch something: a discarded biodegradable dog poop bag.
It starts with each of us wanting a clean river. Then it takes each of us discussing what simple actions that we can take and others that we can stop to have a cleaner river. So here is my top ten:
- Do not throw dog poop bags in the river.
- Don’t use pesticides or fertilizers on your lawn – they flow via storm water to the rivers.
- Have no wake zones – wakes from fast boats erode the shoreline.
- Never use the storm sewers as a liquid garbage dump. Use the proper disposal systems.
- Volunteer on Clean Up our Rivers Day. (or start one if your community doesn’t have a day yet)
- Donate to charities who are working to clean up our rivers.
- Take a walk along the river and pick up the trash. You will be an example to others.
- Try non-motorized water sports.
- Support local craft breweries – they rely on clean local water and are champions of cleaning our rivers.
- Tell everyone that we should expect clean water in the urban centres. You will spark a change in attitude that will flow to more and more people and it will become reality.