Keaghan Muller of Edgewater, 11, came to Annapolis Wednesday morning to make sure that, in the future, kids have clean water to swim in.
He was one of about 100 advocates—according to organizers—who participated in a rally at Lawyers' Mall to show their support for legislation to make Maryland's waterways safe for activities such as swimming and fishing and protect the seafood and recreational industries.
"I came here because I wanted to help pass the legislation," said Muller, who held a poster with a picture of a catfish with tumors found in a stream near his house. "I feel that it's very important. Kids should have a right to swim in clean water."
Jen Brock-Cancellieri, deputy director of the Maryland League of Conservation Voters, helped organize the rally and, like Muller, is primarily concerned about making sure the water is safe for her young son's recreational activities.
"We want fishable, swimmable waters," Cancellieri said. "I think it's outrageous that I can't take my son swimming until 48 hours after a storm because of pollution."
Elkridge resident LaMona Linder, who has lived in the area for 50 years, wants to see the Chesapeake Bay restored to its former glory.
"I've been watching the bay deteriorate for a very long time," Linder said.
Reverend Robert Turner of St. John's Baptist Church in Columbia noted the economic benefits of clean waterways. He said that in Howard County, young adults are employed to build rain gardens throughout the community.
"People are looking for the jobs," Turner said. "We need more concrete ways to create more jobs. We can create real change."
Towards the end of the rally, Gov. Martin O'Malley encouraged the group to continue fighting hard to promote clean waterways.
"Do not underestimate your power as an individual to effect the policies, the votes and actions that these very decent and committed men and women from both parties are taking in your statehouse in the general assembly session," O'Malley said. "We're making some great progress and don't think for a second that you're not an important part of making that happen."