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Don't dump hazardous products into storm drains--Storm drains empty into underground storm sewer systems, discharging directly into nearby lakes and streams, which are important habitats for fish and wildlife. Unlike domestic wastes collected by sanitary sewers, the contents of storm sewers are generally not treated at sewage treatment plants prior to their discharge into a stream or lake. Therefore dispose of oils, detergents, paints, solvents, and other products at local recycling or disposal facilities. Some communities organize special days for collecting these wastes or have their own hazardous-waste collection sites. Contact your health and environment officers or local waste disposal company for times and place. If your community doesn't have either, promote the idea.

Finally, don't sit back and just let things happen--An informed and committed public can become a powerful constituency in support of environmentally concerned political leaders, and even by themselves can provide a catalyst for environmental issues. Believe it, you can make a difference! Follow some of these simple steps.

  • Become informed.

  • Trust in the ability of the individual to take action on environmental issues, and work together with other individuals, experts, and politicians.

  • Be willing to change your attitudes, behaviors, and expectations.

  • Join and support local and national groups that work to solve environmental problems on institutional, national, and international levels. There are hundreds of such groups across the U.S.

  • Urge and support federal, state, and municipal action on environmental issues.

  • Do not use products that are harmful to the environment. Urge stores to abandon wasteful packaging and to use biodegradable materials.

  • Exercise your rights as a citizen: request information, participate in public hearings, serve on advisory committees, and address review boards. Under federal legislation, these options are available within the terms of the Clean Water Act and other environmental statutes.

  • When voting in municipal, state, and federal elections, make your choices based on the environmental views, positions, and practices of the candidates.

  • Educate your children and your friends. Environmental problems cannot be solved in a single generation; your children and their children will have to carry on the work.
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