Make Great Lakes Day a Holiday in Michigan

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The EPA currently runs the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative but with new President Donald Trump set to cut the EPA Great Lakes restoration funding by 97%, the state needs to find new affordable ways to help The Great Lakes.

The state should designate a specific calendar date as “Great Lakes Day”. As indicated by journalist Dan Egan in his book “The Death and Life of the Great Lakes”, the largest problem facing the Great Lakes is “people’s ignorance to the inherent dangers which threaten one of the world’s largest supplies of fresh water”. On this day, public schools would be required to hold education sessions on the various threats to Great Lake sustainability and ways in which students (and their parents) can get involved and support the protection and preservation efforts. This could be partnered with informational handouts, an ad campaign, and PSAs by legislators to increase awareness and further legitimize the problem.

We acknowledge that this is not an immediate solution to the issues currently facing The Great Lakes but we believe that this is an effective long-term solution. This solution will create an environmentally conscious generation prepared to tackle the challenges facing The Great Lakes at an extremely low cost to the state.

The Great Lakes account for over 20% of the entire world's fresh water supply. Obviously, it is imperative that we keep this water safe for both the organisms that inhabit it and the people who rely on it for drinking water and other domestic uses. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin analyzed the degree to which certain “stressors” are impacting regions of the great lakes. Based on their research, they’ve found that a significant number of the areas with greater threats are those that border the State of Michigan. These regions are mostly at the edges of Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, and Lake Erie. The first significant factor on these high pollution levels have been dumping from factories that surround lakeside areas. Lake Michigan in particular has a high concentration of such factories. Another major problem, which occurs in many states and bodies of water all across the nation, is pollution from industrial farms and fertilizer plants. These farms and plants are very harmful because fertilizer runoff and pesticides enter these lakes and can disrupt the natural ecosystem. Fertilizer and pesticides include chemicals that can cause algal blooms and oxygen depletion, which can cause massive kill offs of fish and marine vegetation. Furthermore, there has been a massive amount of garbage dumped into the Great Lakes, comparable to the size of Texas in total, which can cause deaths and habitat destruction for the marine organisms. What makes this problem even worse is that only 1% of the water in the Great Lakes leaves their basins each year, which means that the problem will only become more concentrated over time. Chemicals and garbage simply will not be removed from the great lakes unless we make significant strides in preventing future additions and educating the public. As this pollution can lead to sickness, reproductive problems, cancer, and neurological disorders in humans, it must be addressed as soon as possible. As we look to the future, we see awareness becoming the main driver of Great Lakes restoration efforts. 

 



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