Today is Earth Day, and in Delaware County, part of Earth Week.
“A community-wide week of education, activities and actions in Delaware County is encouraged to recognize the 46th anniversary of the first Earth Day and to seek solutions to the problems of today and the future,” states a proclamation issued by Mayor Carolyn Kay Riggle, that was read at the last City Council meeting on April 11.
“Earth Day launched the environmental movement and sent forth a worldwide call for responsible stewardship of the Earth’s resources,” Riggle said. “Progress has since been made in improving the environmental health of the Earth, but there remains much critical work to be done by citizens, organizations, businesses, industries and governments, including local communities and governments.”
An example of responsible stewardship was provided at meeting, when the fourth Storm Water Pollution Prevention Award was given to Main Street Delaware.
“As part of our Environmental Protection Agency MS4 (an acronym for Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System) permit, we are required to present to an organization or business a pollution prevention award within the city of Delaware,” said Public Utilities Director Brad Stanton. “This organization or business contributes to the reduction of pollutants entering the storm water system and the Olentangy River.”
“This past year’s winner has organized a clean-up of the downtown area in early spring of 2015,” said the city’s watershed coordinator Kristin Piper. “Each month, May through October, there were additional clean-ups scheduled to maintain the city’s downtown area. With these efforts, less pollution was present, limiting the amount that ended up in the Olentangy River.”
Main Street also worked with Preservation Parks of Delaware County to place native plants in their downtown planters, Piper said.
“Native plants require less fertilizer and pesticides that could potentially run off in our storm water,” she said.
Main Street is a nonprofit organization that puts on the monthly First Friday events and downtown farmers market.
“This Earth Day and beyond, let’s make big stuff happen,” said the Earth Day website. “Let’s plant 7.8 billion trees for the Earth. Let’s divest from fossil fuels and make cities 100 percent renewable.”
The organization Green Columbus said that “Earth Day Columbus remains the largest Earth Day volunteer effort on the planet,” with an estimated 6,000 volunteers planting 20,000 trees this week. There will be a “Free Green Columbus Earth Day Celebration” from 1 to 10 p.m. Saturday, April 23, in the Columbus Commons.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.