The Issue: Pollution in the Potomac River
The Potomac River was named the nation’s most endangered river in a recent report by American Rivers. The report says that provisions in the Clean Water Act help to protect rivers by limiting the use of pesticides and pollutants nearby, but congressional proposals to roll back certain measures put the watershed in danger. Ongoing problems caused by polluted rainwater runoff and pharmaceuticals flushed down toilets have also contributed to the problem, leading to marine life dead zones and endangered drinking water for more than five million people.
The Campaign: Training People to Identify Pollution
If this Grassroots campaign raises $300, then Potomac Riverkeeper, a chapter of the international Waterkeeper Alliance, can train 30 Riverwatchers to identify pollution and take action. Each additional $10 raised will provide Riverwatcher training for another person. Located at various meeting places throughout the community, the training course teaches people about ongoing problems in the watershed and sources of pollution. Training gives individuals the tools to help solve the problem by teaching them how to identify different types of pollution and to report occurrences. Participants can take home outreach materials with identification resources to use while reporting pollution.
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Potomac Riverkeeper, a chapter of the international Waterkeeper Alliance, works to keep the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers clear of pollution to protect marine life and ensure clean drinking water for more than five million people. To this end, it harnesses the help of more than 400 local volunteers. When these Riverwatchers see pollution, they report it to Potomac Riverkeeper via phone or email, enabling the organization to seek out the origin of the pollution and halt its spread. In addition to these reactive steps, Potomac Riverkeeper strives for a cleaner environment through the Clean Water Enforcement Program, which takes legal action against larger polluters, and the Green Farms, Clean Rivers Project, which works with farmers to prevent pesticides and animal waste from entering streams.