Swim in the harbor by 2020

On behalf of Blue Water Baltimore's staff, board and membership, I would like to express sincere gratitude to Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Alfred Foxx, director of the Baltimore Department of Public Works, for reinstating the hazardous waste drop-off program which will occur on April 30, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Baltimore Polytechnic Institute parking lot at Falls Road and Cold Spring Lane.

Continuing this vital service, even in these times of limited revenues, is a demonstration of the city's commitment to the revitalization of Baltimore's streams and harbor. The hazardous waste drop-off is an essential function that helps ensure that hazardous chemicals do not enter the waters of our region. Equally important, the event serves as an awareness-raising opportunity to encourage citizens to think about the environment and become more aware that the municipality is a key resource for improving it.

Blue Water Baltimore is proud to be partnering with the city on many clean-water initiatives, including the Blue Alleys project, which will help to reduce the amount of runoff flowing into neighborhood streams and Baltimore Harbor. It is funded by a $600,000 grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, along with $300,000 of additional support from the City of Baltimore, and it is a perfect example of how we are exploring new ways to preserve and restore our urban watershed.

A program such as the hazardous waste drop-off is a perfect complement to this and other initiatives to improve Baltimore's neighborhoods and natural resources.

We look forward to working with the city, the Waterfront Partnership and all the concerned citizens of the region as we strive for a fishable and swimmable harbor by 2020.

T.J. Mullen, Baltimore

The writer is chairman of the board of directors for Blue Water Baltimore

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