Friday, October 14, 2011

Please Don't...

There are some things we, as humans, do without thinking of the possible consequences of our actions. I have gathered a few no-nos; and, the reason they are more dangerous than you think.

1. Releasing helium-filled balloons. Releasing helium-filled balloons has become a very popular way of sending love and greetings to departed love ones. While those persons releasing the balloons feel a great sense of joy and comfort as they watch the balloons ascend toward the heavens, they are unaware of the havoc these balloons can cause. High-flying balloons have become entangled in low-flying airplanes' propellers and other moving parts causing great damage and injury to both plane and occupants. But, the damage is not limited to while the balloons are in the air. Eventually, they land and can become a danger to wildlife. Wild birds and animals can eat or become entangled in deflated, possibly damaged balloons. Animals that eat part of these balloons or become entrapped in the broken parts of them or the remaining string usually die a prolonged death.

2. Using a garburator: Garburators are wonderful ways to get rid of those pesky, disgusting food particles that always end up in your dishwater. However, this food leaves the sink and immediately enters the local wastewater system. The food may be ground so small you can barely see it; but, the nutrients it contains are only added to soup of treated wastewater. When this wastewater is released back into nature, it can be so full of added nutrients that it causes seaweed and algae to grow at a more rapid rate than normal. This can result in algal blooms that effectively kill the oxygen, fish and all other living creatures in their paths. Please empty your sink strainers into the garbage not the garburator.

3. Using plastic bags: Plastic bags are a definite hazard to wildlife. The handles of the bags are especially dangerous. Nosy wildlife, always on the lookout for food, can get their heads through the handles trapping the bag around their neck. In their panic to remove this monster from their neck, they can run around blindly leaving themselves open to injury or death. Again, there is the possibility of death through ingestion of parts or all of the bag. Please change to reusable bags; and, pick up and safely dispose of any plastic bags you might see outside.

4. Disposing of out-dated prescription medicines down the toilet: This may seem like a safe way to get rid of old and possibly dangerous medications; but, it is not. It has been proven that home tap water can contain small traces of medications the local water authority could not filter out. In other words, you could be getting small doses of things like heart medication or antidepressants with your sparkling glass of water. Keep in mind pharmacists accept all out-dated or unwanted medicines and dispose of them safely at absolutely no charge to the client.

5. Wash spills of oil, gasoline, pesticides, fertilizers and the like down the sewer storm drain: Most people do not realize that many sewer storm drains lead directly to fish habitat. There is absolutely no purification of the water from storm drains whatsoever before it hits the fish habitat. Obviously, if too much of these hazardous wastes are flushed into waters leading to aquatic ecosystems, these habitats could become dead of all life. It takes a little longer; but, please clean up spills of this sort in an environmentally-protective manner.

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