The Causes and Effects of Water Pollution in Lake Huron
Lake Huron is ranked as the second largest among the Great Lakes, having a surface area of 23,000 square miles, though by volumes of water, it falls in the third position. It has a wide expanse of beautiful shores and water body, though its applicability and everyday use is jeopardized by various sorts of pollution. Lake Huron’s pollution, just like that of other major lakes, is posing detrimental effects on the ecosystem as well as the local economy, and remedial measures need to be put in place to revamp the lake. This paper proceeds from the thesis that there are numerous causes of pollution on the lake, and if left unmonitored, could lead to huge losses both to the economy and people living around the lake.
There are different causes of pollution in Lake Huron. The most common elements of pollution include metals and chemicals, pathogens and bacteria, nutrient enrichment, and thermal pollution/calefaction. Out of the myriad causes of pollution in the lake, nonpoint-source pollution represents the biggest threat to Lake Huron. This normally includes polluted runoffs from neighboring lands, where rain water washes lands that are contaminated with fertilizers and pesticides. Fertilizers promote the growth of weeds such as the New Zealand Pigmy weed and water hyacinth, which clog the water surface and suffocate other submerged aquatic life in the lake(Jiake, Huaien, Bing&Yajiao, 2010). In addition, the water quality also reduces invariably, reducing its aesthetic appeal.
Secondly, effluents from industries and sewers directed at the lake, or which enjoin the lake from its daughter sources (rivers and streams) are also leading causes of pollution in the lake. Untreated sewers contain dangerous chemicals and other forms of pollutants that are detrimental to the various forms of aquatic life in the lake (Richard, Barry & Glenn 2012). Additionally, industry effluents reduce the amount of oxygen in the lake, thus reducing the water quality, and making it generally uninhabitable by plants and animals(Rowe & Meek, 2009). Other contributing sources of pollution to the lake include atmospheric elements, and human activities in the lake. Atmospheric pollution comprises of dust and soil particles as well as other poisonous gases which settle on the lake either through the process of condensation or by gravitational pull(Liste, Kirkden& Broom, 2013). On the other hand, human activities like motor skiing, and riding of fuel powered jets cause an unimaginable degree of pollution to the lake.
Since Lake Huron is a potential tourist attraction site, degradation of its aesthetic appeal makes it lose its potentiality. A reduction of tourist visits to the lake has far-reaching economic impacts, including loss of direct benefits from foreigners, as well as other forms of foreign exchange. Secondly, the growth of weed on the lake accompanied by poisoning by chemicals from industries, soils and sewers reduce the reproduction and growth of fish in the lake(Zbyszewski& Corcoran, 2011). Therefore, fishing activities subside in the long run, and in the process reducing the income of fishermen who are dependent on the lake. Lastly, Lake Huron is used for irrigation by the community around it. There is a specific water quality that is suitable for irrigation, and usually contaminated water contributes to death of plants, bringing huge economic losses (Li, S., et al 2011). In addition, the growth of weeds in the lake jeopardizes transport systems, which in turn contributes to slow exchange of goods and services, including the sale of fish and other water products. In a nutshell, pollution of the lake leads to a retardation of the growth of the economy around it, implying that it is the key for economic success for the neighboring and distant markets.
Similarly, the pollution of Lake Huron is also disadvantageous to the people leaving around it. One remarkable effect that such a phenomenon has is the use of degraded water for drinking, washing and other household activities (Port Huron, 2008). The primary objective of the lake’s management was that its water would be used for drinking without necessarily having to undergo chemical treatment. Currently, this notion cannot hold, owing to the large amount of both chemical and microbial contaminants in the lake. Consequently, diseases like cholera, various forms of dysentery and diarrhea have become prevalent among the population that depends on the water for survival (Canuet al. 2011). Additionally, since many people depend on the vibrancy and vitality of the lake for daily income, its pollution which degrades its quality and reduces economic activities deprives the inhabitants of this vital income. This translates into less money available for spending, which is a precursor of poor living standard.
Fig. 1: Oil Spills in Lake Huron: Crews secure fuel on sunken Barge off Michigan Coast.
Huff Post, 2013.Green.Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/20/lake-huron-oil-spill-crew_n_1690133.html on May 24, 2013.
Fig. 2: Warning signs put on some parts of Lake Huron, substantiating the claim about microbial and chemical pollution.
The Lake Huron Center for Coastal Conservation, 2013.Working toward clarity. Retrieved from http://lakehuron.ca/index.php?page=working-toward-clarity
From the facts and arguments presented herein, it suffices to conclude that Lake Huron is exposed to a wide range of environmental threats that have put its use and applicability into serious test. It has been noticed that since the rise of pollutants in the lake, it has continually lost its vitality and economic power, and it is very likely that if proper strategies are not put in place, it will continue to deteriorate and have degenerating effects on both the economy and the people around it.
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Huff Post, (2013).Green.Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/20/lake-huron-oil-spill-crew_n_1690133.html on May 24, 2013.
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The Lake Huron Center for Coastal Conservation, (2013).Working toward clarity. Retrieved from http://lakehuron.ca/index.php?page=working-toward-clarity
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