Pollution

Decades of industrial use degraded much of the Great Lakes' shoreline and waters. In recent years, stricter regulation and ambitious cleanup campaigns have reversed that neglect, but agricultural runoff remains a serious problem.

Ways to Connect

Elizabeth Miller

An upcoming conference in Cleveland will tackle marine debris, the pieces of plastic that wash up on the river, ocean, or Great Lake shores.  It's a issue that has affected the health and appearances of beaches around the world.  Marine debris can be anything in the lake that’s not supposed to be there – plastic bottles, grocery bags, or balloons.  It has a deadly effect on wildlife, especially birds.  

Commercially available water pitchers with filters can rid drinking water of toxins produced by algae blooms. The research done at Ohio State University’s Stone Lab on Lake Erie shows some are better at the task than others.

President-elect Donald Trump's transition team is busy filling some 4,000 jobs in his new administration. For folks who are interested in the Great Lakes, three of those appointees are particularly important.

The U.S. has three seats on the six-member International Joint Commission, which works with the U.S. and Canada in regulating the lakes and other boundary waters. 

WBFO file

A $500,000 fine in a federal consent decree is the latest environmental penalty for a Pennsylvania coke company based on the Lake Erie shoreline.

And the fine -- which mirrors penalties at a sister plant near Buffalo -- is the latest reminder of the toxic industrial legacy of the Great Lakes.

NASA

 

An analysis out this week from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports that algae blooms were "fewer, less dense, and less toxic" this year than in 2014 or 2015.

That's good news for the region, because the blooms can cause sickness in people and animals. They also can create problems in treating drinking water.

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