Monday, April 05, 2004
POWR Staffer Reduces Non-Point Water Pollution Through Bicycle Commuting
Watershed Programs Coordinator, Frank Raymond Cetera, bicycle commutes eight miles round-trip to POWR's downtown Harrisburg office from his apartment in New Cumberland. And in the process, reduces his contribution of oil, antifreeze, grease, and metals to the roadways, as well as emitted nitrogen and other contaminants that settle in water, from daily car use.
Cetera began bicycle commuting to work as a egular part of his daily routine when he moved into the Harrisburg Metro area last year. The initial rational was health, economic, and environmentally based. Cetera was able to get in 40 minutes of daily exercise (important within the boundaries of an office job) on his bike commute without having to visit a gym, and shave ten minutes off his commute had a car been used; he was able to save up to $50 per month in parking or transit fees and keep miles off his car; and he was able to reduce air pollution, noise pollution and urban congestion from his vehicle.
"However, I was surprised to learn just how much cars contribute to water pollution, as most think of the effects of cars on air pollution initially" says Cetera. According to the Environmental News Service, a population of 5 million can contribute enough toxic run-off from streets and driveways yearly to equal a major oil tanker spill. "We all contribute to this run-off if we drive a car, even if we regularly keep our cars maintained and don't throw used motor oil down the storm drains" Cetera continues.
Oil, petroleum products, trace metals, and other toxins from automobiles kill fish, plants, aquatic life and even people. One quart of oil will contaminate thousands of gallons of water, so keeping every little bit out of the water supply is a good thing. You can help by: reducing car use, and car pooling; monitoring and repairing any leaks; and always taking used oil, batteries and other fluids to a repair shop for proper disposal. And of course by riding your bicycle.
"Trips under 5 miles are doable for everyone, and there are many resources on the web and in your library for learning proper cycling techniques in traffic, and for motivation and information to get you started" according to Cetera's experience. Cetera even has his own website, www.bicyclecommutingnow.blogspot.com that chronicles his bicycle commuting experiences.
Go to http://www.pawatersheds.org/WWeekly/issue.asp?ID=190