Northwest Voices | Letters to the Editor
Efforts to control stormwater pollution
The thousand-mile stare
Although “Curbing runoff” [Opinion, Aug. 9] highlights laudable updates in mitigating stormwater pollution among institutional users, the summer season highlights the consumer’s incomplete understanding of our role in water quality.
Follow a recreational salmon fisherman home and you might well find a suburban lawn and landscape full of agricultural chemicals, some of which will leak into the watershed and fuel our too-frequent algae blooms (most of the state’s shellfish beaches are closed to harvest now). Mention the connection between the two and you’ll get the thousand-mile stare. Visit one of those parking lot carwashes and you’ll see a day’s worth of soap suds going down the storm drain. Mention the connection and you will receive that same thousand-mile stare.
The task of conveying a sense of personal and civic responsibility to the citizenry has proved difficult. Even when those ecological objectives plainly serve our own interests, we find ways to avoid accountability. Puget Sound’s biological health cannot be achieved without the public’s coherent participation. A resonant message has yet to be employed.
— Art James, Port Townsend
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