The big cities have many monikers; among them is the notion of a metropolis as a concrete jungle. The metaphor actually works on many levels, even in the physical world, as there truly is so much concrete that weather patterns change and the ground is altered. A little considered factor in building such places is the complexity of storm water management.
The majority of our world population has become increasingly sensitive to the idea that the impact of mankind on the planet is not always positive. Since the publication of such important compendiums as Silent Spring, which taught about the hazards of DDT, people have taken notice. Almost no one these days would even think of pouring a can of paint into a stream, river or lake.
The practice if dumping at sea has been prohibited with infractions seriously punished. Even accidental spills are carefully assessed and quickly punished whether it was dumped intentionally or spilled through carelessness. Factories have long ago been taken to task for dumping material, and regularly inspected and monitored.
Unfortunately, the everyday infraction is often ignored. Considering the population of the globe, that each individual might feel okay to pollute a little is frightening. The effect of pollution is magnified through aggregation and accumulation.
People who would strenuously support tough environmental legislation might easily forgive themselves for dumping a can of oil in an abandoned parking lot. It is just one small quart, what harm can there be. Yet it is precisely this lack of depth of consideration that remains one of the greatest threats to our bodies of water, including the oceans.
The logic disconnect is that by and large once the pollutant is on the ground, whether on the side of the road, a parking area or the nearby sewage drain, forgetting about it is easy. Sadly, these pollutants are now on the fast track to the rivers, lakes and sea; the very bodies all want to protect; we just do not see the material during its journey. Even less dramatic urban activity carries a hefty impact over time, like washing a car or fertilizing the lawn.
When it comes to all the flat surfaces on which we operate our automobiles, each is developed with the notion that large puddles are a hazard which must be reduced. Because the rain can not penetrate and go to ground sources, it must be channeled away from the highways and streets. The volumes can be astounding even for a normal rainy day, and the accumulated runoff is directed to rivers, streams and lakes carrying everything from the surface with it.
Our lifestyles have become comfortable, and the tendency is to believe that is the evil manufacturers and large corporations that are causing the destruction of the earth. The 7 billion strong world population is individually stressing the planet, and they can do something about it. Storm water management works to control the human runoff as it heads to the sea, but eliminate the hazard at its source and it would be a much easier task.
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