Editorial - Eco Fair lessons should lingerThe first-ever Community Eco Fair in Alexandria last Thursday was a big hit.
The first-ever Community Eco Fair in Alexandria last Thursday was a big hit.
The topic (how to protect the Earth and its resources) was important; the timeliness (Earth Day) was dead-on; the setting (the new environmentally friendly Woodland Elementary School) was appropriate; and there were a wide variety of things to do that were both fun and educational.
Alexandria School District 206 did a great job organizing such a worthy event, especially considering it was the first of its kind here. The many businesses and organizations that took part – there were more than 30 exhibitors and several workshops – also made things click.
Those who went to the Eco Fair picked up a lot of useful information about topics that are especially important in this area because of all of our lakes. Attendees could learn about zebra mussels, hazardous waste disposal options, recycling, building energy efficient homes, composting, lakescaping and rain gardens, energy saving tips, how locally grown foods can stimulate the local economy, and much more.
A common theme emerged from the displays and speakers: Helping the Earth doesn’t have to be a complex, time-consuming task. In fact, it can be very simple. At its booth, the city of Alexandria, for instance, provided information about 10 easy ways residents can stop storm water pollution that’s worth repeating here:
1. Recycle your used motor oil. Take the household hazardous wastes to drop-off points. Use a proper container for your trash and recyclables. Do not put trash into the street or gutter where it can be washed into the stormsewer system. Never pour hazardous materials into a storm drain.
2. Properly manage and dispose of yard wastes (grass clippings, leaves, etc.) and do not put them in the street, gutter, ditch or storm drain. Aerate your lawn. Where possible, direct runoff into vegetated areas. Install a rain barrel.
3. Limit the amount of impervious surface on your property. Use porous paving surfaces such as wood decking and pavement/block that allows waer to soak into the ground.
4. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers on your lawn or garden. Use phosphorus-free fertilizer.
5. If you have a dog, clean up its waste and do not allow it to pollute storm water runoff. You can properly dispose of pet waste by flushing it down the toilet or placing it in the trash for regular pick-up.
6. Use water-based paints such as latex and wash paint brushes in the sink with water. When using paint thinner, reuse and recycle it.
7. Regularly maintain your car and fix any oil, radiator or transmission leaks as soon as you see them. Also, consider using a commercial car wash instead of washing at home. The runoff from home car washing can contain detergents that are harmful to aquatic life.
8. Use non-toxic alternatives to conventional household cleaners whenever possible.
9. Educate your family, friends and neighbors about stormwater pollution. Spread the word.
10. If you see a potential stormwater quality problem or violation, call the city of Alexandria at (320) 763-6678.
We hope the lessons learned at the Eco Fair will linger for a long time. And we’re looking forward to a “second annual” event next Earth Day. The more residents who take a little extra time to consider the environment, the better the lakes area will be for generations to come.
Echo Press editorials are the position of the newspaper’s editorial board, which includes Jody Hanson, publisher; Al Edenloff, editor; and news reporter Celeste Beam.