Did you know that land-based sources account for roughly 80% of marine pollution every year? The high amount of annual traffic pollutes the coasts, which is why the Alabama Coastal Cleanup is looking for volunteers.
In an effort to curb the harmful effects of litter on Alabama’s ecosystems, local officials have organized the annual Alabama Coastal cleanup program.
The Coastal Cleanup operates on two different levels. On one hand, the actual cleanup is performed by volunteers from all walks of life. On the other, citizens far and wide are taught about the effects of pollution and littering on the local water quality, as well as what they can do to help.
“Any trash discarded, if not picked up, will eventually end up in a water way,” said Janet Wofford, zone captain of the Conecuh-Sepulga & Blackwater Rivers Clean Water Partnership. “Which for us is the Pensacola Bay.
“Not to mention, cigarette butts, which are designed to last indefinitely and carry many chemicals and carcinogens which are harmful to wildlife, waterways and groundwater,” she added.
Approximately one-fourth of all rainwater in the U.S. becomes groundwater, making it doubly as important to ensure that it stays clean and doesn’t circulate into drinking water.
Pensacola Bay isn’t the only area where citizens are fighting to help keep water cleaner.
Conservation groups filed a federal lawsuit last week seeking to force Drummond Company to clean up its Maxine Mine.
Maxine Mine is an underground coal mine that the Riverkeeper group says is still leaching mine waste and other pollutants into the Locust Fork of the Black Warrior River, even though it hasn’t produced coal in decades.
The lawsuit was filed by the groups Black Warrior Riverkeeper, the Southern Environmental Law Center, and Public Justice.
According to a news release by the groups, the lawsuit seeks to stop “continuous and unpermitted polluted discharges of acidic runoff and mine drainage into the Locust Fork and its tributaries.”
In addition, the lawsuit alleges violations of the Clean Water Act, and seeks removal of the mining waste and any other appropriate measures by Drummond to immediately stop all illegal discharges at the site.
It’s incidents like these that push Wofford to continue her efforts in the Alabama Coastal Cleanup.
“The Alabama Coastal Cleanup is not just about pollution cleanup; it is also about pollution prevention,” she said.