Most people are not aware that household hazardous wastes have a serious impact on our rivers and lakes and that the most stormwater entering the drains on our streets flows directly into a local stream, river or Lake Ontario, without any treatment at a sewage treatment plant. Traces of hazardous wastes such as motor oil, paints, household cleansers, pesticides and solvents which have made their way from neighbourhood streets has been detected in our local waters. Organochlorine, PCBs, DDT, chlordane, and mercury residues are found in the flesh of fish caught in Lake Ontario, which is the most polluted of the Great Lakes. Contamination of the water in Lake Ontario is improving, but there is still a way to go to protect the health of the ecosystem.
Youth and community groups and school classes can help prevent water pollution by volunteering for the Yellow Fish Road storm drain marking program. The volunteers use stencils to paint yellow fish symbols beside storm drains to bring to the attention of people in the community that water entering these storm sewers, flows untreated, to the nearest stream. The wastes then flow to Lake Ontario, our source of drinking water from. The volunteers also deliver a yellow, fish-shaped brochure to each home. which explains what the fish symbol means, and how to properly dispose of hazardous household wastes. This action will inform the community how to achieve a cleaner, healthier future.
The Yellow Fish Road Program (trademark of Trout Unlimited) is delivered by The Toronto and Region Conservation Authority through support of the City of Toronto, York Region, Peel Region and Trout Unlimited. If you would like to help call (416) 661-6600 ext 5376. For more information check the TRCA website
You can also help by using safe alternative products instead of hazardous chemicals and disposing of your household hazardous waste properly by contacting:
- The City of Toronto (416) 392 4330
- Region of Peel (905) 791 9499
- Region of Durham (905) 668 7721
- Region of York (905) 764 6345