Global Goals

Lake Michigan – A Local and Global Oasis

By December 15, 2021 December 16th, 2021 One Comment

Goal 6: Ensure access to water and sanitation for all

According to the United Nations and the World Health Organization: “While substantial progress has been made in increasing access to clean drinking water and sanitation, billions of people—mostly in rural areas—still lack these basic services. Worldwide, one in three people do not have access to safe drinking water, two out of five people do not have a basic hand-washing facility with soap and water, and more than 673 million people still practice open defecation.”

In the Chicagoland area, we can consider ourselves fortunate to border one of the largest bodies of freshwater in the world, Lake Michigan.  The Great Lakes as a whole contain 84% of North America’s surface fresh water and 21% of the world’s supply of fresh water.  

As lucky as Chicagoans are – action is needed to protect our water ecosystem and maintain clean drinking water.  

On September 26th, U.S. Steel (NYSE: X) discharged a “rusty colored liquid” into Lake Michigan,  near Portage, IN.  A full analysis has not yet been completed – but U.S. Steel spokesperson Amanda Malikowski stated that “Analysis of the water from the outfall taken during the time of the incident showed elevated concentrations of iron causing the discoloration.”

This is not the first time U.S. Steel has discharged pollutants into Lake Michigan.  In 2017, the company spilled hundreds of pounds of cancer-causing hexavalent chromium into the lake, more than 600 times the legal limit, according to WTTW.

After the completion of a lawsuit filed by the City of Chicago, U.S. Steel was ordered to pay $1.2 million for violations of the Clean Water Act.

U.S. Steel made over $1.8 billion in gross profit in 2018, 1,500 times the amount of the fine.

 

HOW TO ACT:

Contact your Representative:

https://www.commoncause.org/find-your-representative/

Contact the EPA:

https://www.epa.gov/aboutepa/forms/contact-epa

Donate to Alliance for The Great Lakes:

https://greatlakes.org

 

Charles Kay

Author Charles Kay

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