Earth Day 2024: Planet vs. Plastics

An image featuring a view of the planet Earth from space. Half of the planet looks normal; the other half is plastic trash exploding out of the planet and into space.

Join us this Saturday as we celebrate Earth Day in The Park with the City of Allentown! Allentown’s Earth Day in the Park was started in 2018 to “create awareness about environmental protection, while bringing community members together to celebrate Earth Day and have some fun!”

The free celebration will be held April 20, from noon to 4 p.m. at Cedar Beach Park, 2600 Parkway Blvd., Allentown. The event will feature food, music, giveaways, eco-friendly vendors, and family-friendly activities.

LCA representatives will be on hand to answer your questions and educate the public about the value of clean water. We’ll share tips and resources to help you save water, reduce your water bill, and protect drinking water supplies. Free toilet dye test tablets with instructions will be available.

“Lehigh County Authority (LCA) has supported the City of Allentown’s annual Earth Day in the Park event since it began in 2018,” says LCA Communications Manager Susan L. Sampson. “It is a terrific time to connect with the community and share the value of water, source water protection efforts, and provide information for water and wastewater customers.”

Kids can receive a free coloring book with tips on how they can save water. They’ll also have a chance to play our “Toilet IQ Test” and tell us which items are okay to flush. 

We’ll be demonstrating our Enviroscape model, and talking about ways everyone can help protect source water. The Enviroscape model allows us to safely “pollute” the environment, and then show how runoff affects the creeks, streams, and rivers we need for our drinking water.

We’ll also explain the importance of knowing what type of pipes are in your home, and we’ll have various pipe types on display to help you learn the difference. We will also share tips on reducing exposure from lead pipes.

(In the accompanying picture, our CEO Liesel Gross talks to a group of children about the importance of clean drinking water at a past Earth Day event.)

A ‘Green’ Investment

The first Earth Day, in 1970, was the culmination of years of concern about the environment. It led to the creation of both the modern-day environmental movement and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

According to the official Earth Day website, this year’s themeis “Planet vs. Plastics.”  EARTHDAY.ORG is calling for “the end of plastics for the sake of human and planetary health,” and a 60% reduction in the production of plastics by 2040, with the ultimate goal of building a plastic-free future.

“Plastics extend beyond an imminent environmental issue; they present a grave threat to human health as alarming as climate change. As plastics break down into microplastics, they release toxic chemicals into our food and water sources and circulate through the air we breathe. Plastic production now has grown to more than 380 million tons per year. More plastic has been produced in the last ten years than in the entire 20th century, and the industry plans to grow explosively for the indefinite future,” the website states.

“The word environment means what surrounds you. In the case of plastics we have become the product itself – it flows through our blood stream, adheres to our internal organs, and carries with it heavy metals known to cause cancer and disease. Now this once-thought amazing and useful product has become something else, and our health and that of all other living creatures hangs in the balance,” says EARTHDAY.ORG President Kathleen Rogers.

But Earth Day is also about individual choices — like avoiding products with plastic packaging when possible; recycling and composting to reduce trash sent to the landfill; conserving water; supporting “green” companies; decreasing your carbon footprint, and much more.

Taking Action

Ready to step up and do your part? Making effective, conservation-minded choices is easier than you think.

For starters, you can educate yourself about source water protection and find out how you’re part of the plan! We’ve created an interactive “story map” that details watersheds; the water sources LCA uses; our source water protection plan; and the ways in which you can keep source water clean. Click the link to learn more:

If you’d like to participate in a cleanup, but aren’t sure where to start, The Morning Call has a roundup of observations and events planned across the region.

And finally, here are eight simple steps you can take to help the Earth today:

  • Set a timer and limit showers to 5 minutes
  • Turn off the tap while you’re brushing your teeth
  • Flush only toilet paper and human waste
  • Skip the plastic grocery bags in favor of reusable bags.
  • When shopping, avoid items with plastic packaging.
  • Use water barrels to collect rainwater for your gardens.
  • Plant trees.
  • Compost! (This is one of our favorite tips, because it reduces trash and adds nutrients to the garden, without the need for chemical fertilizers.)