by Laila-Lis Roque
The Lehigh Valley has a pressing issue of an increasing amount of wastewater. Citizens don´t know how grand the wastewater issue can become. On average, each person contributes 50–100 gallons of wastewater daily. However, that number continuously increases. If people continue to act in carelessness there will be no safe water to use to shower, wash laundry with, drink, etc.
Project Clean Water is an organization that provides a broad and inclusive forum for exploring water quality issues of regional significance. Much of the focus during our first two years was on establishing a visible forum to discuss issues of shared concern, to find consensus solutions to priority problems, and to characterize baseline conditions in the region’s watersheds. Today, Project Clean Water serves as a resource both to government agencies and to the general public. Another advocate for clean water is Matt Damon. Before Matt´s acting career took off in the late 1980s, Matt traveled with his mother outside of the United States. During those travels, he was exposed to poverty in developing countries. Those experiences planted a seed in Matt which led him to fight against the global water crisis. Matt claimed, ¨you cannot solve poverty without solving water and sanitation.” Matt has even tried to bring attention to his cause by creating a super bowl ad in partnership with Water.org.
Though the Lehigh Valley does not feel drastic effects right now doesn’t mean it won´t in the future. Third world countries are always talked about and known for their living conditions and sanitation issues. If our city’s water does not remain clean, we could end up right beside those countries.
Senators such as Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio are examples of government officials who don´t believe in any form of climate including water pollution and the effects of it. Senator Rubio stated, “I don’t agree with the notion that some are putting out there, including scientists, that somehow there are actions we can take today that would actually have an impact on what’s happening in our climate.¨ Rubio doesn’t believe that anything people do affects the environment around them. Cruz doesn´t think there is any type of global issues going on at all, “The last 15 years, there has been no recorded warming.” People still have relatively clean water to use on a daily basis so who’s to say there is any problem with our water in the US. Because water pollution is less visible it is argued that the problem really can’t be that bad.
My proposed solution is bringing a lot more awareness of the issue at hand. Make sure people know that wastewater is a growing issue and affects everyone no matter who they are. Citizens should also be informed on ways to prevent any extra waste besides water going to the treatment plants. Actions our community can take is avoiding flushing bathroom wipes, condoms, cotton balls/ swabs, prescription medicines, etc down the toilet, dispose of chemical waste properly, and notify the city of any sewer pollution. Ads about wastewater can be posted on billboards or on small sides along the streets of the cities, etc. The governors/ mayors of the cities, such as Governor Wolff or Mayor O’Connell could touch the topic of wastewater in their speeches and conversations and show the citizens they care as well. Even businesses in the area can make it known that they care as well by advertising it in their commercials.
All in all, the wastewater issue can become very dangerous in the Lehigh Valley area if it is not taken seriously, however those future dangers can be prevented by simply educated the citizens and taking the correct precautions.
Laila-Lis Roque is a senior at Liberty High School. She feels that ‘the environment doesn’t get as much attention as it should. By the time people begin to take action it will be too late. The world around us it not something that should be taken for granted. It is beautiful and a provider but it is dying. I want for it to get better.’
NOTE: This essay was scheduled as part of the Speak Out, but had to be dropped when Laila-Lis was unable to be there.