Reducing Pollution in General
Pollution of the air, land and water is one of the main concerns in the harbours and watersheds of the CRD. Various toxic chemicals affect the health of plants, animals and people in different ways. The sources of pollution in the Victoria area include: past and present industries; runoff from roads and other impervious surfaces; automobiles; septic systems; gardens, lawns and farms. See the Pollution page for more detailed information about various chemicals and their effects. We can all help to reduce pollution by following some of the tips below.
Reduce automobile use and emissions
- Automobiles are one of the largest collective sources of ongoing pollution in the local harbours and watersheds. Driving less can have enormous benefits for the environment, while walking and bicycling can also improve your health. Other options include carpooling, sharing a vehicle and taking the bus. (See "alternative transportation" in the More Information section.)
- Switching to a more fuel-efficient vehicle can decrease the emissions of your automobile by up to 50% (see More Information). Not only do large vehicles such as SUVs pollute more, in many cases they are not as safe as regular cars (see More Information). While you help the environment, you can also save hundreds of dollars a year on gasoline bills.
- Keeping your vehicle properly tuned can cut down on air pollution, and prevent oil, gas and other fluids from leaking onto roads, parking lots and driveways, from where they are washed into water bodies.
Reduce the area of impervious surfaces around your home and property
Roads, parking lots and roofs prevent rainwater from soaking into the ground; instead, it flows into nearby streams and marine areas in unnaturally high volumes, and picks up pollutants along the way.
- Planners, developers and home owners can use a variety of techniques to limit stormwater runoff from impervious surfaces. Some examples include alternative paving materials, detention ponds or "rain gardens," bioswales, green roofs, and general design principles that seek to mimic the water budget in natural areas.
- See How Can I Help: reduce impervious surfaces.
Reduce the use of chemicals on your lawn and garden
- Have your soil tested to see if it requires any supplemental nutrients (many areas don't).
- Use compost instead of synthetic fertilizers (this has the added benefit of reducing landfill waste).
- Encourage beneficial insects, birds and bats for natural pest control
- See natural gardening for more tips and information.
Reduce the use of toxic chemicals in and around your home
Inspect and maintain your septic system
Reduce boat pollution
- Make sure your engine is properly tuned and not leaking fluids.
- Refuel carefully, and have absorbent materials on hand in case of a spill.
- Use less toxic alternatives for cleaning.
- See Reducing Boat Pollution for more tips and info.
Business owners need to familiarize themselves with applicable regulations and at minimum should consider adopting "Best Management Practices" (BMP's), to reduce pollution from your enterprise.
© Image courtesy of Lotus Johnson