How to Protect Rivers From Pollution. Rivers provide some of our most beautiful and most endangered natural habitats. Whether you enjoy whitewater rafting down a wild, clear mountain river or drifting serenely on a slow, gentler river, rivers give us places to enjoy nature. Sadly, rivers face pollution from many sources: farming, industry and even tourism. It is important to protect rivers from pollution in order to save them for our ourselves and future generations.
In the Community
Visit a nearby river. You can't begin to fight pollution until you see the problem for yourself. Spend some time on the closest river to you, so that you can begin to understand the beauty and the variety of life it supports.
Educate yourself. You can't begin to protect rivers until you know what their problems are. Contact local environmental groups for information about rivers in your neighborhood.
Join an environmental group. Often group efforts are more effective than individual efforts. Working together with others who are committed to protecting your river can get your voice heard by legislators and the public.
Have the water tested. Take a water sample to your local public health unit for testing. You will need facts about river pollution to enlist the support of public officials and individuals.
Speak out. Take advantage of opportunities to speak about pollution in your river at local commission and state meetings. This is a perfect opportunity to educate others about the need to protect your river.
Practice what you preach. Organize or help with efforts to clean up the river. Volunteers can pick up garbage from river banks to promote a cleaner, healthier environment.
Buy phosphate-free detergents and fertilizers. The phosphorus in these products is one of the major pollutants of rivers nationwide.
Purchase cleaning products without nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs). When these chemicals pollute local rivers, they disrupt the endocrine systems of fish living in the river and can cause birth defects and deformities.
Take old and unwanted household chemicals to hazardous waste collection centers. Pouring them down the drain eventually introduces them into your local rivers and watersheds. Discard them safely to protect your river.
Conserve water. Limiting the amount of water your household pours into the local wastewater treatment center will limit the amount of pollution you introduce to your local rivers.