Pollution in the Great Lakes is a major problem. It affects both Canada and the U.S. and has been a problem for over 50 years. Both the Canadian and American governments have taken action against this, but the problem hasn’t gone away yet. This report will talk about pollution, and its toll on the Great Lakes. It will also talk about what we can do to slow down, and hopefully stop pollution in these lakes.
There are many issues that have to deal with pollution. Everything from algae to the supply of water we need to survive is affected by pollution. The Great Lakes makes up one fifth of the world’s fresh water and this one fifth is now being polluted. The destruction of the area and the increase in pollution has increased since the 1960’s. (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2012)
Dumping and contact with toxic chemicals have made much of the Great Lakes dangerous. One of the major sources of toxins and pollutants that are polluting the lakes is large farms. The artificial fertilizers and pesticides that are used run off into the water and then into the lakes. Sewage water from cities drains into the lakes when overflowing occurs, contributing to the pollution. Chlorine has to be used as a disinfectant in the drinking water that comes from the lakes.
Phosphorus and nitrogen are the main pollutants that leach into the waters. When rivers, like the Humber River, become polluted, they eventually run out into the Great Lakes. This is why regular litter from suburban areas is also a factor of pollution in the lakes.
There are many ways pollutants can enter lakes and rivers: agricultural and urban runoff, industrial outfalls, migration through groundwater, through the food chain, and many more. Many pollutants do not dissolve, so they cycle through the food chain, and harm the animals in it. With industrial outfall, big companies dump the waste from their factories straight into waterways. When urban and agricultural runoff occurs, the excess nutrients leach into the water, contaminating it.
The Government recently passed law dropping the number of protected waterways (rivers and lakes) in Canada from thousands to about 159. This means big companies can dump waste in rivers that flow to the Great Lakes, which as stated before, is a major reason for the dangerous pollution in the lakes. “Many governments, organizations, groups and individuals are contributing to the restoration and protection of the Great Lakes. Work is being done at the local, regional, lakewide and basinwide scales, and all of these efforts help to restore and protect the Great Lakes.” (Environment Canada, 2013). Though environment Canada says they are helping, it doesn’t seem that they are doing so to the best of their abilities, by passing a law of this kind.
Many chemicals people were using in the past have now been banned, but the damage from them has already been done. If they were not banned, however, the damage would be much worse. The...