The effects that humans have on the water cycle
- Even though people live in cities and towns, those cities and towns are still a part of the natural environment.
When smoke exhaust comes out of cars, it goes in the air, lands on tree leaves, gets on buildings, and sticks to the roads. When it rains, all of that stuff gets mixed into the water, and becomes part of the runoff. In fact, pretty much everything that goes into the air or lands on the ground ends up in the water.
- In most urban areas, there is not a lot of soil. So when it rains, all of the water that would normally be absorbed into the soil becomes runoff instead. An average city block generates 9 times more runoff than a woodland area of the same size. All that extra water sometimes makes streams flood and causes erosion.
- When towns are built, grass and woods and wetlands get torn down and replaced by buildings and roads and parking lots. All of that soil gets covered by impervious surfaces.
Impervious surfaces are surfaces that water can’t soak through. Some cities are as much as 95% impervious. That means that almost NO water gets absorbed into the ground, and it almost ALL becomes runoff.
- In an area with a lot of impervious surface, all of the water that would normally soak into the ground and become groundwater, runs off and goes into streams instead. That means that the level of water stored underground gets lower and lower. And that means that we have less groundwater available for our needs.
- In a lot of cities and towns, runoff goes straight into rivers and streams. It doesn’t get treated or cleaned. Sometimes, the storm water even gets mixed with our sewage!
That means that all those chemicals and bacteria from our roads, lawns, buildings, and toilets can end up in the water. These things can cause animals and humans to get sick. Or they can make algae grow out of control. Many rivers and streams are in really bad shape because of this.
Segment 3—Word on the Street Radio Show
…And that was Easy Mo Dee, with his latest hit, “What’s My Locker Combination”. You’re tuned into CBAY, Bayville’s number one station for music and talk radio. Right now we’re going to go ahead and open up the phone lines for Word on the Street, the show that lets you speak your mind. A lot of people are fired up about the new Mega Mall that might be coming to town. And we want to hear what you have to say about it. So, give us a call Bayville.
[Announcer] First caller, what’s your name and where are you calling from?
Hey everybody. Greg here. You know, I’ve heard a lot of people talk bad about this mall, and I really don’t get it. If we get the mall, more of us teenagers will be able to get jobs, and we won’t have to bum money from our parents anymore. It’s called financial independence, people! Plus we’ll finally have some place to go in our free time. So just say yes to the mall, Bayville!
Second caller, the mic’s all yours.
What’s up Bayville? I’m Robert Richards, and I live over in River Road. You know, I have this teacher who is this big nature lover. And she has us doing all this stuff about buffer zones. Something about how trees kind of protect the river. I’m not going to really get into it, because I don’t even understand it all myself. All I know is they’re planning to rip up Dwight Park to build the mall. And if they tear up all those trees and stuff, then that river is going to get really polluted.
Hey there caller number three. Go ahead.
Hey, Bayville. I’m Katrina Styles, and I’m calling from High Crest. I agree with Robert. I mean, besides the problem with the park being totally destroyed, they’re trying to build the mall a million miles away from everything. We’re going to have to drive just to get there, and I don’t know about anybody else, but I hate having to ask my mother to take me anywhere.
Caller number four, what’s on your mind?
Hi there. I’m Jordan from Greenpoint. I live kind of near where the mall is going to be built, and I have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, they’re getting rid of the park. AND there’s going to be more traffic, more noise, and more pollution. But on the other hand, there will finally be some stores closer to me, and I won’t have to go all over town just to get my shopping done. So I don’t know about this mall. I just don’t know…
Okay, callers, that’s all the time we have for today. Tune in tomorrow when we’ll be talking about the mayor’s new curfew law. I’m Loud Mouth Marvin and this is CBAY!
Segment 3—Bay Beat Articles
Rain, Roads, and Runoff=Rotten Rivers
It really makes me angry that the mayor of Bayville said yes to the Mega Mall. They want to build the mall right on the banks of the Dwight River. The Dwight is one of the most important rivers in this watershed area! And ever since more people started moving to Bayville, and new houses and roads started popping up everywhere, the Dwight River has been in seriously bad shape.
There was just a report in the Bay Beat four months ago that said the Bullhead Catfish in the Dwight River have been found with cancerous tumors. Scientists said that the tumors were caused by all of the harmful toxins that get into the fish’s bodies when they eat. If the Mega Mall is built, this kind of problem will only get worse. Dwight Park will be destroyed. Concrete and asphalt will be poured over the soil. And all of the nasty, polluted runoff that used to be filtered by the soil will go straight into the Dwight River. It will make the river more rotten than it already is.
Mega Mall Means More Money, Man!
Everyone knows the economy in Bayville has been in pretty bad shape these last few years. And what makes the economy improve? Jobs!! I can’t understand, then, how anyone except those crazy tree-hugging environmentalists, can be against the new mall.
I live in Greenpoint. Yes, Greenpoint is a great place to play sports, have picnics, and go fishing. But Greenpoint is also home to people who need better roads, new stores, and especially more jobs!
Bayville needs to put the needs of humans before the needs of trees and fish. That river has been dirty for years, and probably will be forever. More trees can always be planted, but people need jobs now.
Build the Mall, but Build it Better
Bayville, stop all the arguing. I have a solution that pleases everybody! We can build the mall, but we can do it in a way that is more friendly to the earth!
There are all kinds of things that could be done to make the Mega Mall a “green” place. For instance, right now the mall is just one level. It’s really wide and long. Why not make the mall two levels? That way, it would use half the space, but still get the same number of stores as before. The same thing goes for the parking lot.
Also, make a little buffer of trees and grass between the mall and the river. Instead of building the mall right on the river, push it back a little. That way, the people in the mall would have something pretty to look at while they’re shopping. And the trees would help protect the river from polluted runoff. Perfect solution, right?!