Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change is planning to launch a $15 million project to clean up and safeguard the Great Lakes.
The recent move by the government is aimed at reviving the world’s largest fresh water bodies to provide fresh water supply to all Ontarians.
The decision by the government of Ontario comes at a time when the USA has proposed $50 million reduction in federal funding for Great Lakes ecology.
The key points in the the Great Lakes Protection Act
- reduce harmful algae blooms
- monitor and report on the health of the lakes
- bring people together to take action on priority issues
- protect wetlands
- fight climate change
- establish a Great Lakes Guardian Council
- protect coastal areas
- monitor acidity levels
- monitor biodiversity
- set targets for nutrients that end up in water from factories and other industrial establishments
- include traditional ecological knowledge of First Nations Communities in decision making process
The state of the Great Lakes has a direct impact on many facets of daily life, including the quality of drinking water and availability of food. In addition to that, invasive species and shoreline development are the other prominent reasons that affect the health and viability of the Great Lakes.
Problems plaguing the Great Lakes
Scientists say that it is essential to look into the grave matters affecting the very existence of the Great Lakes as studies have found that the process of acidifying in the lakes can result in irreparable damage and consequences to the ecosystem, especially aquatic life and health of people in general.
At present, Lake Ontario needs more attention as the manufacturing and population densities in Canada and the US are having a negative impact on the economy and ecology of the Great Lakes region.
The algae blooms
The algae blooms, especially the blue-green algae, are leading to beach closures and a sharp decrease in the quality of water.
Water levels and climate change
The climate change and warmer annual temperatures result in the dramatic increase in the evaporation of water.
Shorelines and wetlands
The hardening of shorelines and wetlands of the Great Lakes due to urban development over the region is resulting in the alteration of lakes natural cycles of deposition.
Although provincial and federal governments over the past few years have promised to introduce effective legislation to protect the Great Lakes, but have not been successful. Moreover, similar moves have failed twice in the past five years.
The Great Lakes in Graphics
The story of Great Lakes