Welcome to a page made just for kids!
Do you know how our creeks and beaches get polluted? Have you ever wondered why there are holes in the curb and gutter? Well, read on to find out…
What’s storm water pollution? Storm water is the water that runs down the street when it’s raining. Storm water enters holes in the curb and gutter called storm drains. Water that flows down the street when it’s not raining, like when you wash your car on the driveway or over-water your lawn, is called urban runoff.
Confused yet? Take a look…
After storm water and urban runoff flow into the storm drain, it gets sent to the nearest river, creek, lake or ocean so our streets don’t flood. That means any pollutant on the street or in urban runoff gets carried to our waterbodies and eventually the ocean.
That’s a pretty long list of stuff that can pollute our water. But, do you know why it’s bad for people and the environment?
Chemicals like oil, chlorine (used for swimming pools), cleaners, pesticides and fertilizers can harm the animals, bugs and plants that live in the water, and can make people sick when it floats down to the ocean.
Too many leaves and grass clippings can take the oxygen out of water and suffocate the plants and animals who need oxygen to breathe.
The waste from our pets is very harmful to our waterbodies. Our pets' waste has dangerous bacteria that can spread diseases to plants, animals and humans that swim in dirty water.
Soaps and detergents, like too many leaves and grass clippings, can take oxygen out of water and suffocate plants and animals. Also, soaps and detergents eat away at the slimy mucus layer that protects fish from diseases and bacteria.
Did you ever think air pollution from cars could pollute our water? Yep. Remember, anything that goes up, must come down. So all the gross-looking, bad-smelling, gray/black/brown/blue gases that come out of a cars' tailpipes floats up into the air and eventually lands on the ground or in a creek, river, lake or ocean.
Listen up, litterbugs… the trash you throw in the street will eventually end up on the beach! If you don’t litter, hurray! You’re helping our environment stay clean! Trash is not only ugly to look at, but it pollutes our water and can make animals sick.
You’re a water pollution genius if you can get this question… Why is soil bad for creeks, rivers and lakes? Well, a little bit of soil is natural. But, too much from what’s called “erosion” is harmful to waterbodies. Erosion is when soil slides off hillsides and lands in a waterbody. Also, soil can come from our streets and sidewalks, get carried into a storm drain and eventually end up in a waterbody. So, why is soil bad? It makes water murky, so fish and frogs have a hard time breathing and it can smother the eggs that the fish and frogs lay in the creek bottom. Soil can also clog up creeks, rivers and lakes making them disappear altogether.
Feel Smarter Yet?
Now that you know how water pollution happens, do you know what you can do to prevent water pollution? There are lots of little things we can do around the house to pollute less.
If you see oil drips on the ground where your parents park their car, ask them to get it fixed.
Don’t let water full of pollutants like litter, soil, chemicals, soaps and grass clippings run down the street and into a storm drain.
Make sure to pick up after your dog when you take it for a walk - it’s your doody! Don’t forget to bring a bag with you.
Wash your car on the grass or at the car wash. The grass and soil will soak up the water and filter out the soap and grit and grime from the car. When washing your car at home, make sure the hose has a shut-off nozzle so that the water doesn’t constantly run from the hose. Also, use a bucket with water and soap, then drain the dirty/soapy water in the grass or down the sink. And, washing your car at the car wash is great because the water is recycled.
Throw all your trash in a garbage can and not on the ground.
Convince your parents to drive less. Try planning trips to the store, gas station, mall or other places in a path so you waste less gas and time. The shorter the trips, the less the air is polluted.
To learn more about storm water pollution you can check out these cool links.
Wonder who are the Duck, Fish and Turtle shown above? Meet the Oceanside Creek Friends!
Feel like being more creative? You can print your own coloring book.
The Adventures of Oceanside Creek Friends
Report any water running in the street when it is not raining or someone dumping something in the storm drain or curb and gutter by calling the
Urban Runoff Hotline at 760-435-4500.