PARSIPPANY — Building on the Township’s efforts to align with Sustainable Jersey’s environmental goals, the Parsippany Green Team announced plans to crowdsource a township-wide audit of every storm drain through a user-friendly mobile app, called iVolunteer.
Between now and August 15, The Parsippany Green Team needs to get as many volunteers as possible to take part in cataloging storm drains along 900 streets and over 100 businesses in Parsippany.
“It sounds like a lot to do in a short amount of time,” acknowledged Srini Eda, a Green Team volunteer, and creator of the Storm Drain Audit. “But if we can get 100 people to sign up to take part in this, we can have the whole project completed in a matter of a few weeks.”
Users can install the iVolunteer app on their mobile devices, then select from a list of streets needing photos. Users then upload their photos of each storm drain along a street into the app’s database until the street completed.
The biggest reason for this initiative is evident after any significant storm makes its way through Parsippany. Often after storms roll through, bottles, garbage, and debris stretch along gutters and roads, flowing into waterways, and ultimately back into the water residents drink.
Sadly, this is far from an isolated issue. According to recent estimates, the Atlantic Ocean is filled with nearly 220 million tons of plastic waste. This plastic breaks down into smaller particles that fish and other organisms eat, disrupting their ecosystem, and ultimately making its way back into our own food.
“The Storm Drain Audit is an important step in combatting water pollution locally,” said Eda. “Once we know what our storm drains look like, we’ll get a better understanding of what changes are needed to stormwater and runoff management.” This could include adding more restrictive storm drain plates that have been shown to greatly reduce downstream plastic and garbage scattering by containing it at the source.
Volunteers completing 10 or more streets between now and August 15 will be recognized by the Parsippany Green Team. Students in Parsippany schools can even earn Community Service hours by taking part in this effort.
“This stormwater audit project is the first of its kind in New Jersey,” said Eda. “There’s no blueprint on how to do this sort of thing. But we need to come up with real solutions on how we can reduce the plastic pollution in our streams and waterways, and we’re going to need our community’s help along the way. It’s just the right thing to do.”
For more information on the Storm Drain Audit, email email@example.com. To download the iVolunteerApp, click here.