Global Problems, Local Solutions

Did you know that water pollution is a global problem?

All over the world humans are having a huge negative impact on water quality. For example, to avoid the price of recycling or scrapping large objects, some people just throw their trash in streams! That is very bad for the environment.

Our lego league team, the CyBots, researched a lot of different water pollution problems, but is most interested in two large problems:

  • The Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone
  • Ocean Garbage Patches

These large problems are very far away so we can’t fix them directly, but we can help to fix them indirectly. We found that our local water system leads directly to the Gulf of Mexico. Our streets, homes, and yards funnel water and objects into the Ames storm drain system. The Ames storm drain system funnels water into local watersheds and streams. Many of those streams funnel into the Skunk River. The Skunk river funnels into the Mississippi River and then into the Gulf of Mexico. After that, ocean currents spread that water, along with everything in it, all over the ocean.

As you can see, anything that we put in our local water system ends up spreading all over the world. By cleaning up our water at home we can make a positive impact on global water quality. We found several local ways to help with the global problems we're most interested in. We can help with the Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone by preventing chemicals from reaching our storm drains or planting prairie grass around the local watersheds. We can help with the Ocean Garbage Patches by preventing garbage from reaching our storm drains, organizing local stream cleanups, and reducing our plastic use.