Target: United States Congress
Goal: Prevent the negative environmental effects of salt runoff by not salting roads during snowstorms.
Every time it snows, cities prepare by throwing salt on roads so traffic can continue moving normally. While this is good for business, it’s extremely harmful for our health and the environment. Salt runoff ends up in cities’ water supplies as well as lakes and rivers, killing off plant and marine life. If cities were allowed to put the environment before profits, they would be able to stop business during snowstorms so salting the roads wouldn’t be necessary. Ask the United States Congress to write legislation requiring cities to stop operations during snow storms.
Each year, we throw over 20 million tons of sodium chloride on roadways so that vehicles can continue moving during snowstorms. Most of this traffic is comprised of people going to and from work and school, all activities that can be halted during inclement weather. Considering the damage salting roads does to the environment and can do to our health, it’s worth questioning if it’s really worth continuing with business as usual during snowstorms.
A study conducted in Minnesota uncovered that in the urban Twin Cities area, 70 percent of salt thrown on roads stayed within the area’s watershed. Removing salt contamination is not only difficult, but costly. A September 2009 study by the U.S. Geological Survey revealed that at some point during the study, 40% of urban and suburban streams tested in the northern United States had chloride levels at or above what the Environmental Protection Agency considers maximum safe levels. Salt that splashes off the roadways also erodes soil and can harm vegetation up to 650 feet away. Additionally, it attracts forest animals like deer, birds, and moose who end up getting killed by oncoming traffic.
It’s time for us to start considering how our actions affect the environment, not the economy. Seeing as oncoming snowstorms are highly predictable, cities’ businesses would have time to prepare for operations to stop until the snow melts. Students could be given assignments, households could stock up on food and emergency triages could be set up around the community for people needing medical attention. Let’s stand together in protecting the environment by not salting roads during snowstorms.
Dear United States Congress,
Each year, we throw over 20 million tons of salt on the nation’s roadways. Although this allows for businesses to continue as usual, it’s extremely detrimental to the environment. Salt runoff erodes soil, kills vegetation and wildlife, washes into lakes and streams, and ends up in water supplies.
Considering that oncoming snowstorms are predictable, it’s easy for cities to prepare to make sure everyone’s basic needs are met. The only needs not being met would be those of business. It’s time to stop putting profits over the environment. Let’s start by not salting roads during snowstorms.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: geograph.org.uk