Environmentalists call for statewide water cleanup - WFLA News Channel 8

Environmentalists call for statewide water cleanup

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Environmentalists gathered on the banks of the Hillsborough river, using it as example of what can be done to clean up our waterways. Environmentalists gathered on the banks of the Hillsborough river, using it as example of what can be done to clean up our waterways.
Environmentalists gathered on the banks of the Hillsborough river, using it as example of what can be done to clean up our waterways.

"This river is a jewel which ten years ago this river was just river now it is a jewel," said Rich Brown who is with the Friends of the River environmental organization.

All across the state, a clean water campaign is being launched.

"We must preserve and restore our wetlands, we must respect the finite nature of our water supply," said Sierra Club member Kent Bailey.

The point of the campaign is to make sure citizens, businesses and even state and local governments keep streams, rivers and Tampa Bay pollution free.

"What do you do? You put strong rules in place that stops pollution at the point of the source... and if we do that with fertilizer, manure and septic tanks, we are going to have much cleaner water in Florida," said Frank Jackalone of the Sierra Club

If this is not done, environmentalists say cleanup from the damage could amount to hundreds of millions of dollars.

The city of Tampa has already taken steps to try and ease fertilizer runoff, which can contribute to water pollution.

"Some of the other cities in this part of the state have passed fertilizer bans and we passed a point of sale fertilizer ban that we can already see as quantified as cleaning up the bay," said Tampa City Councilwoman Mary Mulhern.

But, algae blooms and red tide can affect sea life, like manatees.

And, in the long run it can also have an impact on tourism and even the state's economy.

"Businesses and people that want to move into our state, they don't want to come here if we are known for not having clean affordable drinking water," said Hillsborough County Commissioner Kevin Beckner.

Environmentalists and their supporters plan to take their signed "clean water declaration" to Tallahassee next month to present to state lawmakers, with the hope it will lead to positive changes.


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