Letters to the Editor

River pollution in Iowa must be addressed

I am a high school student at Liberty High School. I have become concerned about the dangerous levels of water contamination in our rivers.

Research has shown that non-point source pollutants such as pesticides, fertilizers, and chemicals used on farms, contaminate water sources. According to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, rainwater has picked up many types of pollutants, and the runoff has entered the Iowa River. There is excess soil, bacteria, and nutrients from fertilizers in our water. According to the Iowa Environmental Council, contaminated water can cause fetuses to develop birth defects if they are exposed to water with certain levels of N-nitrosoatrazine.

According to Elizabeth Royet, a science writer from National Geographic, water contamination also harms marine life such as fish, frogs, and algae. Chemicals in the water produce a change in chlorine, pH, dissolved oxygen, nitrate, and phosphate, prompting stress and overgrowth in marine populations. An example of marine overgrowth would be too much algae or plants that grow in the water. Without Iowa’s marine population, ecosystems will change and the food chain will be disrupted.

Regulating the levels of pesticides and fertilizers will help prevent rivers from becoming contaminated and harming human and marine health. Farmers can use natural or organic fertilizers which will not harm rivers and streams within Iowa. Iowa citizens can use natural household cleaners and use protective layers on their septic tanks.

Alaina Wilson

Iowa City

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