Do you know what pollution looks like out on the water? Have you ever wanted to do something about it?
Waterkeeper recommends three services to help you protect your waterbody from pollution: Swim Guide, Taking Stock Online, and the Watermark Project.
With these three services, you can do three powerful things:
- Report pollution when you see it using Swim Guide;
- Research pollution types and trends using Taking Stock Online; and
- Protect your waterbody from pollution by submitting your Watermark.
Not only are the above reliable tools for pollution reporting, research, and waterbody protection; they are also fast, free, and and easy to use. Let me explain:
1. Swim Guide – Get out there and report pollution
Swim Guide is a free app and website that helps you easily find the closest swimmable beaches near you. With over 700,000 users, the service delivers free real-time water quality information for over 7,000 beaches, lakes, rivers, and swimming holes in Canada, the U.S., Mexico, and New Zealand.
If you see pollution on the water or at the beach, go to theswimguide.org/report. Take a photo of the pollution and provide a short summary of what you see. Click “submit” and you're done.
Want to find the best beaches near you? Swim Guide also offers water quality information for a wide variety of beaches, ranging from city parks to remote lakes ideal for camping. To find the beach that’s just right for you, browse the map or search for a beach by name. Beach descriptions tell you about amenities, lifeguards, where to park, and everything else you need to know to enjoy a day at the beach.
Created and managed by Waterkeeper, Swim Guide can be used by any public interest club, organization, or agency to share beach information with the public.
2. Taking Stock Online – Research and analyse data
Taking Stock Online is a comprehensive website that helps you easily research pollution types and trends in North America. The service provides online interactive tools that allow you to explore North American Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (PRTR) data and download comprehensive reports.
Similar to the European Environment Agency's data service for the European Community and EU member countries, Taking Stock Online provides you with open-access pollution data. This North American service was created in 2016 by the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC). The Montreal-based intergovernmental organisation released the latest trinational data reported by industrial facilities to the pollutant release and transfer registers of Canada, Mexico, and the United States.
Through the CEC’s Taking Stock Online website, users can explore integrated, multi-year industrial pollution data that now spans 2006 to 2013, comprising of more than 30,000 facilities.
You can use this data for research, analysis, and knowledge building. The service provides tools that allow you to explore information on pollution from industrial facilities across North America. Create summary charts, customized queries, view cross-border pollution transfers. You can even download your results in a variety of formats, including kml files for viewing in Google Earth.
The three powerful Taking Stock Online tools are Search the Database, Cross-Border Transfers, and Summary Charts. Whether at home or in school, keep these tools in mind for your next research project.
3. Watermark Project – Protect your waterbody
A Watermark is a true story about you and a body of water. Your Watermark is a powerful tool that will help protect waterbodies in the future. Here's how:
When you contribute a story to the archive, you register the waterbody in a national database of important waters.
You document the value of that waterbody to you and your community.
You help researchers identify waters where people swim, drink, or fish, so that those uses can be protected in the future.
You provide evidence that ensures environmental laws can be used to safeguard your waters.
Created and managed by Waterkeeper, the Watermark Project is a service that connects people to water in a powerful way. This project is important because studies show that Canadians fail to appreciate their waterways. Studies also show that water is our most treasured national resource. Your Watermark helps to bridge this gap and will be one of the hundreds of others already in our archive. By simply submitting yours, you are helping to protect your waterbody and waterways across Canada and North America.
Want to help the Watermark Project grow across Canada and North America? You can become a Watermark Collector. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
In order to protect our waterways, people need to get out there and appreciate them. Rivers, lakes, oceans, and streams can’t be protected if they’re ignored. And it’s not enough to rely on others either. We’ve watched over Lake Ontario since 2001, but we can’t do it alone. Lake Ontario is the 14th largest lake in the world and 9 million people depend on it for their livelihoods. Everyone needs to participate.
So while the weather is hot (or even while it’s not), go for a swim, a paddle, a boat ride, or just hangout on the shoreline. If you see pollution, report it. The tools you need exist. Be on the frontline of protecting your waterbody. Go jump in your lake!