It's that time of year when we all begin to clean up after the winter season. It's nice to see people outdoors mowing their lawns and washing their vehicles, but while we're cleaning our cars and trucks, we may be poisoning the environment.
When we wash our vehicles in driveways and on streets, we leave behind dangerous toxins. According to a December 2009 article in Science Translational Service, "The
Environmental Impact of Washing Your Car," by Deidra Metzler, "Heavy metals such as copper can come from your brake pads. Cadmium, lead, and zinc can be sourced from your tires. Sediment is (also) problematic to aquatic life (and) has a smothering affect on fish and amphibian eggs and gills. Large quantities of heavy metals can be poisonous to all types of wildlife."
So instead of the driveway or the street, consider a local car wash that manages its water, or an area with drainage to a sanitary sewer system (where the water will then be treated). When these chemicals find their way into a storm drainage system, they often end up in streams and rivers where they can damage our living world. So clean safely, and enjoy the sun!
Above: Animals are affected by cars washed at home—soapy water containing harsh detergents, oil, chemicals and heavy metals end up in streams, lakes and rivers that are essential habitat to local wildlife, like this Raccoon.