The amount of oil that enters the marine environment from consumers (not producers like the oil companies) can be hard to estimate, and even harder to control. Often, reports will break down pollution sources into two broad categories:
Point-Source Pollution: This refers to discrete sources of pollution that can be directly identified, such as a factory that is dumping waste directly into a river. Huge strides have been made in the past decades by governments to curb these sources, though by no means has point-source pollution been eliminated yet.
Non-Point-Source (NPS) Pollution: Refers to pollution sources that are much harder to isolate and track. These would include run-off from roads, parking lots, farmers fields and industrial sites as well as improperly disposed of oil containers and the like which slowly leak out into the environment. A large portion of NPS pollution ends up in the sewer and storm drain systems of our communities, and flows untreated into our lakes and rivers. Since no one person or business can be blamed, NPS pollution is much more difficult to combat.
What is being done?
Responses to NPS fall into three broad categories: regulation, awareness and treatment. Examples of some bodies undertaking each of these are below, and we will take a closer look at some of these in posts to come.
Capital Region District (Victoria, BC) Bylaw No. 2922, SEWER — USE BYLAW NO. 5, 2001
Do you know of another group that is regulating, promoting, or treating run-off to protect your rivers, lakes and oceans? Let us know!