Playing in the Mud

 

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As a kid, it was always fun to get down and dirty in the mud while you were playing in the backyard. Not only was it fun, but I have also heard that it is beneficial to the youngins. The bacteria, viruses and fungi in the soil can help build the child’s immune system and playing outside helps kids connect with the environment around them. BUT there are some negatives to playing in the dirt, especially for families living in or near city centers because many cities have high pollution concentrations, especially lead.

Lead was a huge part in paint, fuel and industrial factories and were used daily for decades. Today, lead usage has come to a halt but is still at very high concentrations in the soil because of the decades of lead accumulation. As you probably know, lead poisoning causes terrible issues with brain and neuron development and many studies have shown high correlations between low IQ scores and high violence in areas with high lead poisoning. If your child is innocently playing with and eating the dirt and it is actually contaminated, there can be many negative effects. A soil test is easy and many times free, contact your city for more information!

 

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The Garbage Disposal Effect

Most seniors at Butler live off campus, usually renting a house nearby. At my house, one of the biggest inconveniences is the lack of a garbage disposal. However, after the last two weeks of class, I’m learning that no garbage disposal is actually a good thing–maybe not for my roommates and I but definitely for our surrounding waterways.

Everyday so many households grind up their excess food into small bits which end up in our waterways. These food particles are the main source of energy for bacteria in the waterways. This typically wouldn’t be a huge problem but the amount of bacteria in Indianapolis’s water system is very high. This is due to our sewage overflow system–whenever it rains, the sewage lines open up and any overflow contaminates the nearby water. Thousands and thousands of bacteria are in our fecal matter and when it rains, these bacteria relocate to the water systems. This gives bacteria the perfect habitat to live and reproduce in–nutrient rich waters.

Although the impact is small, my rental house decreases the amount of nutrients being put into the water by not having a garbage disposal hooked up to our kitchen sink.

Although our assignment as a class does not specifically look at the water contamination levels it is an important part of our assessment of the green ways and may be a starting point fundamentally understand the bigger problem.