Sarasota City Manager Tom Barwin encourages residents to minimize their amplification of red tide.
In the spirit of a new year and just days into 2019, I propose we consider a community wide New Year’s resolution.
Although documented for centuries, recent red tide episodes appear to be lasting longer and are bigger than in the past.
Warmer air and water temperatures caused by air pollution and nutrient rich storm water runoff are believed to be combining to feed the red tide blooms.
Although 65 U.S. rivers flow into the Gulf of Mexico (the 10th largest body of water in the world), individual actions taken anywhere in the watershed will either help slow or further aggravate the damage.
The city of Sarasota is doubling down on our efforts to decrease air pollution and improve upon how to best manage storm water, but you can and should help. The Gulf needs your help. Our individual efforts will collectively make a big difference against this daunting but critical challenge.
So, here’s the list, our New Year’s resolution to help curtail red tide:
Number one: Eliminate or reduce your use of fertilizer. If you must fertilize, don’t allow it to wash into streets, nearby waterways or drainage ditches.
Two: Don’t blow grass clippings and leaves into the streets or allow your landscapers to do so. Most of this debris ends up in our waterways, picking up pollutants along the way.
Three: Upgrade to fuel-efficient vehicles and equipment as your budget allows. Go with renewable energy whenever possible.
And finally, please don’t put cooking oil, grease, baby wipes, diapers or other large objects down the drains or toilets. This causes sewer blockages and spills which can end up in our waterways.
We can’t hide from red tide, so what better way to start a new year than a group resolution? Let’s work together to protect the environment we love, enjoy and need. This is a resolution which should be easy to keep. Thanks.
Tom Barwin is the Sarasota city manager.