Give a Hoot - Don't Pollute!

Bridget Morin
Department of Public Works
June 5, 2018

Keep Our Waterways Clean! Give a Hoot! Don't Pollute!

The 2018 Hurricane season is officially upon us, and so are the heavy rains that inevitably follow, so we want to take this time to remind everyone, residents and visitors alike, to be extremely careful to NOT litter or otherwise pollute our lovely Town and its surrounding waterways.

Rainwater that runs off our rooftops, streets, driveways, and lawns flows into the storm drains, which means it does not get treated. Typically referred to as stormwater, as it flows through the streets and into the storm drains, it transports litter, animal waste, lawn cuttings, pesticides, fertilizers, oil & grease, soil, bacteria, and other chemicals and sediments and deposits them into our waterways. Because our Town is in the middle of the Intracoastal Waterway, that means the stormwater is carrying this pollution straight into Biscayne Bay and the surrounding waterways.

Stormwater is a leading cause of water pollution. This runoff can kill aquatic life, and make our waterways an unhealthy place to live, work, and play. The effect of such pollution can be devastating, as evidenced by the photos herein. These photographs were not taken in Bay Harbor Islands & we don't plan on ever seeing pollution like this in our Town. We have a ZERO TOLERANCE for pollution.

How can you help? You can actively participate in preserving our environment by doing the following:

  • Shop Wisely. Buy products labeled biodegradable, non-toxic, non-phosphorous, or water-soluble. Common trash from consumer goods makes up the majority of what eventually becomes marine debris, polluting our waterways and oceans. 
  • Store Products Carefully. Keep toxic products in original containers, closed and clearly marked, since spillage can easily occur.
  • Don't drain used motor oil, paints, mineral spirits, weed killers and pool chemicals into storm drains.
    • A free non-commercial disposal option is available for residents at the Home Chemical Center, 8801 NW 58 St, Doral, FL 33178. Items up to 50 pounds may be dropped off between 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM, Wednesday through Sunday. For more info. - call 305-594-1500.
  • Use mulch for fertilizer and only use chemical pesticides and fertilizers sparingly. Avoid application if there is rain forecast or these chemicals will be washed into the Bay.
  • Select native plants and grasses that are drought and pest resistant. Native plants require less water, fertilizer, and pesticides.
  • Sweep up yard debris, rather than hosing down areas. Compost or recycle yard waste when possible. Never ever blow yard waste into the street!
  • Don't over water your lawn. Water during the cool times of the day, and don't let water run off into the storm drain. Follow South Florida Water Management District regulations.
  • Cover piles of dirt and mulch being used in landscaping projects to prevent these pollutants from blowing or washing off your yard and into our local water bodies. Vegetate bare spots in your yard to prevent soil erosion.
  • Pick up and properly dispose of pet waste.
  • Dispose of litter in the designated containers and keep the lids closed. Plastics in the aquatic environment are of increasing concern because of their persistence and effect on the environment, wildlife, and human health. 
  • Recycle plastic and glass bottles, cardboard and newspapers. Be sure to dispose of plastic bags and styrofoam products in your regular GARBAGE containers - these are not readily recyclable. Do not place plastic bags and styrofoam in the recycle containers.

There are tremendous marine resources in our surrounding waters as many of you can attest to by the regular dolphin and stingray sightings and the schools of fish evading their marine predators. Pollutants can harm fish, foul our drinking water and make our beaches unsafe and unpleasant.

Let’s work together to keep our Islands beautiful, our recreational waters in pristine condition and our marine life healthy! Give a Hoot! Don't Pollute!

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