Take a look down when you walk down any city street in Los Angeles. What do you see? Chances are, you will see some of the same items over and over again—cigarette butts, plastic bags, bottles and paper scraps.
Despite the affection most Angelenos have for their neighborhoods, the streets remain a dumping ground for discarded soda cans, wrappers, bottles, dog waste—you name it, you’ve probably stepped over it.
Urban runoff is water from rain, hoses and sprinklers that flows from our streets into gutters known as catch basins, picking up all debris and litter in its path. From the catch basins, this “toxic soup” runs through a system of pipes known as the storm drain system and flows right to the beaches and ocean untreated.
Clogged catch basins significantly decrease the quality of life in many neighborhoods throughout the City of Los Angeles. These “nests” of trash and debris can attract rats and cockroaches, create foul odors, and clog the storm drain system—affecting neighborhood aesthetics and property values, and causing local flooding.
Common neighborhood pollutants, such as dog waste, contribute to stormwater pollution and threaten public health. Dog waste left on the street has the potential to spread illnesses, such as Giardia, to both people and pets. It is important to always pick up after your pet and remind others to do the same to keep your family, pets and community healthy.
On a more hopeful note, a recent Los Angeles County study showed that more than ever, Southern California residents are aware that stormwater pollution is a serious health, community and environmental issue, and they want to be part of the solution.
The L.A. Stormwater Program is actively exploring solutions to protect the environment and to keep communities safe and healthy. Current programs include structural solutions, such as trash capturing systems that stop pollutants on their path to the ocean. Another program involves direct public education campaigns that focus on reaching out to residents and businesses to encourage community preservation.
Everyone can be a part of the stormwater pollution solution. Individuals may contribute only small amounts of pollution, but collectively, the contribution is tremendous in Los Angeles. Every resident can reduce the number of pollutants entering the storm drain system by adopting these simple good housekeeping practices:
• Always place trash in a trashcan and recycle whenever possible;• Sweep driveways and sidewalks instead of washing them with a hose;• Store and dispose of household hazardous waste properly.
For more information call (800)974-9794 or visit LAstorm