Ventura County’s watershed is the total land area, including everyone’s backyards, from which stormwater drains into storm drain systems and our creeks, estuaries and the ocean. Anything thrown on the ground instead of in a trash or recycling bin will eventually find its way to one of these waterways and then out to sea. Preliminary statistics for the just-completed 2011 Ventura County Coastal Clean-Up Day show a 20 percent increase in trash collected compared to last year's clean-up day and should be a wakeup call to county residents. Volunteers gathered over eight tons of trash and recyclables.
"Besides being an eyesore, these items are harmful to the environment, marine life and ecosystem," says Arne Anselm, Ventura County water quality monitoring manager. "Most of it is not biodegradable;
The number of volunteers for Coastal Clean-Up Day has gone up every year. More volunteers mean we have the opportunity to collect more trash," says Anselm, “but, we have to remember that trash is collected at just a few key sites in Ventura County. We certainly didn’t pick up every piece of trash in the county and there is still a lot we can do to reduce trash pollution in our watershed.”
Cigarette filters, Styrofoam pieces, used baby diapers and batteries were some of the items collected in 2011. All contaminate the watershed. Dog waste is another serious cause of water pollution. Just a small amount of fecal coliform bacteria in water is known to cause cramps, diarrhea and intestinal illness in swimmers. "It’s not only pollution, but a public health issue too. We can be exposed to that bacteria all because someone didn't pick up after their dog," says Anselm.
During the Q104.7 FM school tour, students will be treated to prizes and give-aways as well as a powerful demonstration that includes the 13,763 cigarette butts and filters collected at last year’s Coastal Clean-Up Day. The awareness campaign will focus on "A Day in the Life of Ventura County’s Watershed" and includes television and radio spots and online outreach. Go to Community for a Clean Watershed on Facebook for more information on how to keep Ventura County’s watershed clean or visit www.cleanwatershed.org.
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Community for a Clean Watershed is a coalition of stormwater quality management agencies in the cities and unincorporated areas of Ventura County, working together to protect the watershed by preventing pollution.