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What you can do to help

FertilizerEnvironmental PoliticsHealthU.S. Environmental Protection AgencyMedicineArable Farming

Do not litter

About 80% of ocean trash comes from land, mostly fast-food wrappers and plastic bags, bottles and cups. Recycle and pick up after yourself. Bring your own bag to the supermarket.

Curb your pets

Bag dog and cat feces and dispose of them in the trash. Don't flush cat litter down the toilet. Sewage treatment doesn't remove parasites that can harm sea otters and dolphins.

Don't flush medicines or solvents

Throw away unused pharmaceuticals, perfumes, industrial chemicals or solvents. Don't dispose of them in the toilet or down the sink. Sewage treatment doesn't remove many chemicals and dissolved drugs that can poison sea life.

Minimize fertilizer use

Don't apply before rainstorms. Don't use a hose to remove spills or residue from sidewalks and driveways. Sweep it up and put it in the trash.

Discard chemicals properly

Dispose of household toxins at hazardous-waste collection centers. Recycle used motor oil and transmission fluid. When possible, use nontoxic substitutes. Find the Environmental Protection Agency's suggestions at es.epa.gov/techinfo/facts/safe-fs.html.

Collect car-wash runoff

Don't wash cars in streets or driveways. Instead, park on lawns or go to a carwash that collects the runoff.

Buy local, buy organic

Farmers markets support local growers who drive less and are often easier on the land. Buy organic food grown without pesticides and chemical fertilizers.

Avoid over-watering

Use drip irrigation whenever possible and adjust sprinklers to minimize over-spraying. Plant hardy native plants that need less water.

Plant a tree

Trees slow runoff and absorb carbon dioxide and other nutrients that otherwise end up in the ocean.

Use alternative transportation

Consider walking, riding a bike or taking mass transit to shop or to work. Tailpipes pollute the ocean as well as the air.

— Kenneth R. Weiss

Sources: Los Angeles Stormwater Program; EPA; Heal the Bay; Natural Resources Defense Council; "50 Ways to Save the Ocean," by David Helvarg

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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