Why is it a problem?
You may think because yard waste is a natural part of our environment that it’s okay for it to wash into our waterways. When grass clippings and leaves decompose (break down) into local creeks, rivers, lakes, or streams, these extra nutrients deplete the oxygen in the water. Fish and other aquatic life need oxygen to survive, therefore when oxygen levels become too low, they are at risk of dying.
An excessive amount of nutrients in the water can also cause algae blooms. Algae blooms are overgrowths of algae in water, caused by sunlight, slow-moving water, and nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus), which can produce dangerous toxins. These toxins can cause animal and humans who come into contact with it to become very sick or even die. Collecting yard waste and keeping it out of our waterways helps reduce the amount of extra vegetation discharged into our waterways. More information on algae blooms can be found on the CDC website.
In addition to harming aquatic life, large amounts of yard waste can clog storm drains, which in turn can cause flooding. In the City of Mesquite, it is illegal to blow or sweep yard waste into the streets, sidewalks, driveways, or storm drains.