You’ve probably heard the phrase “Puget Sound belongs to all of us.” Along with that pride of ownership for this regional treasure comes the responsibility of taking care of the Sound.
While this may sound burdensome, there are actually many simple things that you and your family can do to boost the Sound’s health. Simple actions by all of us can make a huge difference.
What can you do?
If each of the 4.5 million people living in the 12 counties that make up the Puget Sound region makes even one small change, the combined efforts will have a tremendous positive impact.
Never dump anything—liquid or solid—into a storm drain or drainage ditch.
- Fix auto leaks right away and take any used fluids to a recycling center.
- Take your car to a commercial car wash instead of washing it in your driveway.
- Pick up pet waste regularly—in your yard and on walks—and put it in the trash.
- Use natural yard products like compost and mulch. If you use chemical pesticides and fertilizers, follow the directions and use them sparingly.
- Store and dispose of household chemicals according to the instructions on the label.
- Landscape your yard with native plants and trees that will soak up more rain and slow the flow of runoff.
Puget Sound features 2,500 miles of shoreline. It is home to countless species, including orcas, sea lions, salmon and shellfish, along with the 4.5 million people. Puget Sound creates economic opportunities for the area, including tourism, shipping and seafood, and the region’s exceptional quality of life is a key reason many local companies stay and expand here.
Every year, millions of pounds of toxic pollutants enter Puget Sound. Most of that pollution comes from runoff. When it rains, the water flows over hard surfaces like houses, parking lots, driveways and streets and picks up pollution along the way.
This polluted runoff flows through ditches or storm drains and into local waterways. Most runoff is not treated before it reaches streams, rivers, lakes and Puget Sound.
While it may seem like any effort you make is small, it is not trivial. In fact, numerous “small” efforts are necessary to help our Sound.
Linda Kent is the Department of Ecology Southwest Region communications manager.