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When it rains, it pours

Hi everyone! My name is Olivia, and I’m the newest member of the Ambassador Animals Team, and you’ll find me at the World of Wild Theater presented by Georgia Natural Gas here at Zoo Atlanta.

Earth Day was just last week on April 22, but it’s never too late to learn about new ways that we can invest in our planet.

As the saying goes: April showers bring May flowers … but is that all the rain brings? Let’s think, after it rains, where does the rain go? It can’t all go into the grass. What about the rain on the street, in parking lots? Stormwater runoff, which is the water, everything in the water, and everything that the water carries with it into our storm drains and fresh bodies of water, is a leading cause of pollution in Georgia’s waterways. These pollutants carried into the storm drains can make our drinking water more costly to filter and make potable, and the pollutants carried into our natural sources of fresh water can make the habitat unlivable to those who call it home. 

The pollutants causing stormwater runoff issues can be anything from trash to pesticides used in lawn care. The excess nitrogen and phosphorus found in pesticides can cause harmful algal blooms that make it difficult for aquatic life to survive. This can trickle down and cause health concerns for people who eat freshwater fish, as they are consuming now poisoned and diseased fish. 

Now, what can we do to help stop this? It’s pretty easy — just a few simple changes, and even just being aware of the problem, can make a huge difference. First, and the one we hear all of the time: Don’t litter! Even if you aren’t personally throwing something down a stormwater drain, if it rains, chances are it will flow into one anyway. Cleaning up after your pet and making sure your car isn’t leaking any harmful substances are also extremely helpful, as those things often get washed away and aren’t disappearing; they’re going straight into our drinking water and freshwater streams. Lastly, be courteous when doing gardening and lawn care. Bag up leaves and grass clippings instead of blowing them into the street, don’t overuse fertilizer or pesticides, and try to avoid doing lawn care right before a heavy rain, so that all those things mentioned prior don’t flow into the storm drains.  

It’s a lot to take in, but making small changes to our daily lives can have a huge environmental impact. Nobody likes polluted water, especially our drinking water, so doing what we can to make a difference is key to investing in the future of our planet.

Olivia L.
Keeper I, Ambassador Animals

Connect With Your Wild Side #onlyzooatl