MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — Threats to Alabama waterways and the drinking water supply may get a lot of publicity in the coming years.
Well, they will if the 8th-graders at Indian Springs School have anything to say about it.
The group of 8th-grade students traveled to Montgomery to urge state lawmakers to consider water policy suggestions for Alabama.
“We are trying to develop at least the beginning of water policy for Alabama,” Indian Springs School student Max Klapow said.
Water policy is something that is usually not on the radar of interests for 8th-graders, but this group sees it as a pressing issue that needs to be dealt with properly.
“I think that we should help with future generations,” Jackson White said. “Everybody needs a right to clean water.”
The Indian Springs School students are working with college students from across the state of Alabama as a part of a group called the Coalition of Alabama Students for the Environment, or CASE.
The group focuses its efforts on drawing attention to the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) and their ability to monitor industrial discharge pollutants into state waters.
Thus far, the department’s monitoring efforts leave much to be desired, according to CASE members.
“ADEM got zero funding this year from state government,” Aaron Traywick said. “That is a serious problem . . . that means that those monitoring are going to go down even more.”
The students visited the office of Alabama Senator Jabo Waggoner without an appointment to make their case.
“In there, you’ll see there’s some things for funding for the Alabama Department of Environmental Management,” Klapow said as he handed Waggoner a packet of information.
CASE points out more than 295 million gallons of raw and untreated human sewage spilled into the Cahaba and Black Warrior Rivers in the last ten years.
“I can’t wait to read this and maybe come up with some legislation, some resolutions promoting it,” Waggoner said.
The student’s trip was all about making a game plan and setting a course for future protection.
“We don’t teach our children how beautiful the state is,” teacher Lisa Balazs said. “We don’t take them to the wild places and show them our great parks. We don’t take them outside to splash in the creek.”
If the students’ concerns are addressed, they may be able to visit those parks and play in the creeks of Alabama for many years to come.
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