Pollution in the Great Lakes and Inland Lakes

Photo Credit: 2010-2018 Healing Our Waters- Great Lakes Coalition

Photo Credit: 2010-2018 Healing Our Waters- Great Lakes Coalition

Sydnie Lipski

Pollution is the process where land, air or water become dirty and unsuitable for life. Living in Michigan, we are surrounded by water. You are never farther than six miles from a body of water. So how clean are these bodies of water and what can we do to keep them clean?

The most polluted body of water in Michigan is Deer County Lake in Marquette, Mi. Deer Lake has game fish with the highest levels of mercury pollution in the state. Partridge Creek once flowed into the lake, and this creek flowed through an old mine where it became contaminated with mercury.The creek flow was diverted out of the mine this eliminated the active source of mercury entering Deer Lake. The most polluted Great Lake is Lake Erie. The Great Lakes and the states around them are referred to as The Great Lakes Basin. A large area of the Great Lakes Basin was used as a disposal site for waste in the early 1900s. Toxic pollutants, chemicals, heavy metals and pesticides entered The Great Lakes. The toxins that entered the Great Lakes were capable of causing birth defects, cancer and potential  damage to the immune and nervous system. The area surrounding Lake Erie was heavily populated in the 1960s, which caused major pollution issues. The excess amounts of pollution and fertilizer cause algae to grow. The abundance of algae reduced the amount of oxygen in the lake and caused fish to die. The fish were left to survive off anaerobic organisms; pike and whitefish slowly died off.

What can we do to keep our Great Lakes and inland lakes clean? You can start off by throwing away garbage, in the actual garbage can! Try to use less water in the shower or when brushing your teeth and washing dishes. If you have a home or cottage on a lake, you can plant native plants along the edge of the grass line to cut down the erosion of soil, and the plants will filter any chemicals coming from your lawn. The Great Lakes account for more than 20% of the world’s freshwater. If we want them to be around for a while, we have to work together to keep them clean.