Letter: Small actions can make large impact on water pollution

Graphic by Lori Deaton

The rivers largely impact our everyday lives, from getting drinking water to showers, to taking a walk by a stream. Rivers not only impact all of us humans, but they are also home to many types of wildlife and plants. When pollution gets in our rivers, it can have a bigger impact than you may think. Some of the direct impacts are killing off the more sensitive wildlife, destroying plants and making the river unusable to humans for resources and for enjoyment.

There are many places in Asheville where people go tubing on the French Broad River. When the river gets polluted too badly, some of these businesses are unable to run, which negatively impacts the local businesses. Pollution can also have some larger effects on the community and world at large. For example, the water from the French Broad River eventually goes to the Tennessee River, which goes to the Ohio River, which leads to the Mississippi River, which feeds into the Gulf of Mexico, which finally goes into the Atlantic Ocean. This connection shows that the water pollution can travel and doesn’t just affect one specific local area.

Pollution can cause diseases in many animals, which can be transferred to humans as well. It also disrupts food chains and ecosystems as well. There are many things that cause water pollution, including the industrial waste of large industries, the use of chemicals in pesticides and fertilizers, urban developments, landfill leakage and sewer lines that break or leak.

Luckily, there are some ways water pollution can be prevented. Properly treating sewage and waste, reducing the use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers, avoiding dumping things into water systems, recycling and reusing, disposing of trash properly and bringing awareness to the issue are just a few ways we can help prevent this issue and have healthier and cleaner water systems. Even the smallest actions can have a very large impact.

— Aimee Diefenbach
Eighth-grade student
Asheville

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