Introduction The Great Lakes provide almost half the water for the residents of Ontario. The Great Lakes also provides water to residents in Thunder Bay, Port Hope, Sault St Marie, Niagara and many parts of The United States to name a few. With 70% of the Earth covered in water only 0.1% of it is clean accessible drinking water. The Great Lakes plays a major role in helping to provide water for people that live near the American/Canadian border. However this resource is being mistreated.
The Laurentian Great Lakes are one of the largest sources of fresh-water in the world, but have been a continued receptacle of human pollution for many decades. Theories on how best to combat and prevent pollution have been offered, but adequate monitoring and execution of proposed theories is hard to obtain. Canada and the United States have been committed in a joint effort to improve the water quality of the Great Lakes for many years. In 1972 they both signed the 'Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement' (GLWQA) in which both parties promised to “restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the Great Lakes Basin.” (GAO 2004) Lack of funding and inconsistent monitoring have been a hindrance for the two governments, but private funded groups have helped by going out in the field themselves.
The Great Lakes, including Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, are the largest freshwater lakes in the world, accounts for about 18% of the world 's fresh water resources. They are rich in water and other resources and the area of the Great Lakes extend more than 1200 km. The storage capacity of Great Lakes is about 23000 km3 and the surface area is around 244000 km2. Nowadays 1/10 of the Americans and a quarter of Canadians live in the lakes. Some of the world 's largest industrial center is built on here. Almost 25% of total agricultural production in Canada and 7% in the United States will yield in this area. Although the area of the lake is large, it could be affected by a wide range of pollutions
The Great Lakes are a chain of linked freshwater bodies on the northeastern border of the United States and Canada. They include Lakes Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie and Superior: hence the mnemonic HOMES. Currently, and for decades past, humans have exploited the Great Lakes for a myriad of activities including fishing, transportation and as a water source. In recent years, however, research has brought to the fore a pressing issue of conservation ethics. The issue is that of the increasing levels of pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) in the Great Lakes. A 2002 study by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) showed that residential, industrial and agricultural wastewaters in contiguous United States had low levels of a variety of synthetic chemicals such as human and veterinary drugs, synthetic hormones, insecticides and fire retardants (qtd. in Alliance for the Great Lakes). Research has linked PPCPs to adverse effects on wildlife and aquatic species. Accumulation of PPCPs, therefore, is a threat to the Great Lakes ecological balance and it must be curbed before the damage is at an irreversible stage.
Lake Mendota Pollution Madison’s Lake Mendota has been home to urban and agricultural runoff called non-point pollution, for many years. The effects from this runoff can be seen and smelled when around the lake, or for that matter, among all the lakes of the Yahara Watershed; including, Lake Monona, Lake Waubesa, Lake Kegonsa, and Lake Wingra, respectively. The Winnebego Indian name for Lake Mendota is Wonk-shek-ho-mik-la, meaning, “Where the man lies,” while the Prairie Potawatomi named the lake Manto-ka, meaning, “Snake maker,” referring to the early abundance of rattlesnakes along the lake’s shoreline, in earlier years. The name Mendota was actually given to the lake in 1949 by a man named Frank Hudson, whom was a local land surveyor; actually, Mendota is a Sioux Indian name meaning, “The mouth of the river,” because it feeds the rest of the lakes in the Yahara Watershed.
The Great Lakes are the largest surface freshwater system on Earth, with a basin that is home to around 30 million people (USEPA, 2015). Lake Michigan is the only one of the Great Lakes that lies entirely within the United States, with a maximum length of 307 miles and maximum width of 118 miles. The Lake Michigan shoreline, composed mainly of sand and pebble beaches, stretches 1,640 miles along the coasts of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin, as well as some islands (NOAA, 2015a). The Illinois portion of the Lake Michigan watershed (Figure 1) is only 100 square miles (0.22% of the lake’s total area) and the state’s coastline borders the lake for a short 63 miles (IEPA, 2014). However, despite this relatively small area of Lake Michigan, half of the state’s population lives within the watershed. Recreational water activities are popular throughout the Great Lakes and along Illinois’ Lake Michigan coastline. Lake Michigan is Illinois’ biggest recreational resource, as well as the state’s largest supply of drinking water and a major economic boon (IEPA, 2014). With so many people engaging in water activities, and both affecting and being affected by the lake in turn, it is important to frequently monitor the lake for potential health hazards.
There is no denying the presences of the Great Lakes, not only are they unavoidable, but they have also been a major player in the growing of civilization in North America and Canada. A person would have to live under a rock, no pun intended, to not know about these phenomenons. Most would ask from where did these Great Lakes come? How did they form? How are they beneficial? What are some of the Great Lakes here? A Great Lake is an extremely large inland freshwater sea, which is amazing since we are surround by oceans occupied with salt water. The Great Lakes are the largest system of fresh surface water on Earth, which makes them vital to our survival. However, they have been subject to damage by pollutants. There are five lakes in North America, which are: Lake Michigan, Huron, Erie, Superior, and Ontario. Not many people take the time to try to understand our Great Lakes or the importance of them. Coming to understand what these Great Lakes are, how they got here, and how they are beneficial to our ecosystem will ultimately help us further appreciate their vital diversity and encourage us to preserve them.
"Water Pollution." Current Issues: Macmillan Social Science Library. Detroit: Gale, 2010. Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 5 May 2014.