A Dangerous Combination

Pollution is a significant problem in the Great Lakes water supply.
The following website provides a map of factories and other facilities that have violated pollution standards by discharging hazardous waste into rivers, lakes and other water supplies: http://projects.nytimes.com/toxic-waters/polluters/michigan Also notable, is the chart below the map which shows the number of violations and the amount of fines that each facility has paid. None of these violators are paying fines for their destruction!
In Whiting, Indiana “BP will now be allowed to dump an average of 1,584 pounds of ammonia and 4,925 pounds of sludge into Lake Michigan every day” according to an article from the Chicago Tribune: http://www.wwdmag.com/bp-allowed-dump-more-sludge-lake-michigan. This is an increase in the amount of waste that they are currently dumping into the water source and is allowed because of lax federal guidelines. There were several other exceptions made to allow BP to increase the amount of chemicals they put into the water, such as the creation of a ‘mixing-zone’ which they use to combine chemicals with the clean water to dilute it and make it ‘less dangerous’ as they see it.
Finally, we are aware of radioactive waste being dumped on the shores of Lake Huron from atomic reactors near Toronto. Experts are concerned that this pollution of the water supply will affect Michigan because, several high population towns such as Bay City, Port Huron, Detroit, and Monroe get their water directly from this source or downstream. The article about this found here: http://www.nirs.org/pressreleasefor10232006.pdf. This article describes several other effects of this waste dumping and all can be related to the other two instances of pollution in the great lakes system.
As the great lakes are a very significant source of freshwater in the world, it is our duty to protect and maintain the cleanliness of the water. We must do something to stop these polluters and violators from ruining our freshwater supply. We already have several laws in place to prevent water pollution but clearly the standards need to be more strict and there should be less leniency for large companies such as BP. Lax standards and polluters are a potentially lethal combination when it comes to the great lakes water supply.
Alyssa Kocis


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