By: Colten Barrett, Katie Wolfe, and Grace Steiger
Over the past few years, the Meramec River has become very polluted. Floaters throw away unwanted trash and waste into the river, causing pollution. When pollution occurs it can cause different species of plants and animals to die. This can disrupt the food chain in the river. Food chains play a major role in the rivers ecology. When the food chain is harmed, it can cause other species to die off, because the food that they eat is gone. Floaters play a big role in pollution on the Meramec.
Fresh water is a precious resource. 97% of the water on Earth is salt water. Most of the other 3% is frozen in polar ice caps. Fresh water is being polluted every day. With limited resources of fresh water, we need to be extra careful not to pollute the rivers, lakes, and ponds. Many species that live in fresh water, such as the alligator snapping turtle, are becoming extinct in Missouri.
While floaters are on the river they throw trash, garbage, and even pour gasoline and diesel into the rivers. Polluted water can carry diseases. Lots of animals drink the river water. When they drink it, it can make them sick, and they could even die. Floaters throw plastic bottles, plastic bags, wrappers, cans, bottles, and lots of other wastes into the river. This can injure lots of animals. They could get stuck in bags, or even bottles. Wastes could get wrapped around their necks and kill them. Polluted rivers can even smell bad. When rivers smell bad, no one wants to go there. They look gross too. This could even impact our fun at the river.
There are ways to fix the pollution in our local rivers though. People all over are working to clean up our rivers. When you are on the river, be sure to clean up your trash. Don’t throw unwanted wastes on the river banks. Don’t dispose of anything dead in the river. That could carry diseases to all of the animals. If you live near the river, make sure that when you wash your car, the soapy and dirty water does not run directly into the river. Driving cars can even impact the pollution on the river. Try not to drive everywhere. The pollution can make the water poisonous to all of the animals that live in the river. You and your community can even work together to make a litter trap. This will catch all floating debris in the river. It funnels all waste into the center of the river, where there is a large basket that catches the debris. It is vital that we try to keep our rivers clean.
We will address this situation with our local community by sending it to all of the local floating resorts. We will ask them to post it on their website or put it up on their bulletin board. We will ask them to also to consider placing a few more trash cans along the river.