The Manitoba government recently launched a billion-dollar effort to help communities reduce phosphorous emissions that end up in Lake Winnipeg.

But it's a plan that could take years to establish.

Lake Winnipeg most threatened in world in 2013

Lake Winnipeg fisherman worried about return of algae 

In the meantime, there's a lot ordinary citizens can do to help out right now. Here are some tips from the Lake Friendly Initiative on what you can do.

  • At home:

What goes down the drain in our cities and towns ends up in Lake Winnipeg, so bring chemicals to a hazardous waste management depot for proper disposal.

Do not dispose of pharmaceuticals down the drain. Bring them back to the pharmacy for proper disposal.

Avoid using your garburator to reduce the load of nutrients going to the sewage treatment facilities. Compost vegetable waste instead of sending it to a landfill.

  • In your yard:

When it comes to taking care of your yard, make sure only rain and snowmelt go down street drains and/or into catchment areas.

Recycle used oil and antifreeze by taking them to service stations and take other chemicals to a hazardous waste management depot.

Compost yard waste and leave grass clippings on the lawn.

Clean gutters and street drains to prevent leaves and other debris from entering the drain. Compost these materials.

Minimize rainwater runoff from your yard. Collect it in rain barrels and use it to water your garden. Do not over water your lawn and garden.

  • Consider where you wash your vehicle. 

Wash your car at a car wash that recycles water and uses nutrient-free washing products.

  • Treat water as if we had to drink it. 

Don’t be wasteful with water.

Never put used oil or other chemicals down storm drains or in drainage ditches. Bring chemicals to a hazardous waste management depot for proper disposal.

Reduce nutrients (fertilizers, etc.) and other harmful substances from entering the drain.

  • Speak your mind. Get involved.

Support initiatives that help protect our waterways. Spread the word about ways in which we can all help protect our waterways.

Let your elected representatives and local officials know that you support and encourage policies and processes that protect our waterways.