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According to the Alliance for Great Lakes, Lake Erie provides drinking water for 11 million people. Algae blooms are caused by runoff Pollution. Runoff pollution is when rain carries fertilizer, manure and other toxins into watersheds, including Lake Erie. Scientists also point to biosolids runoff as a source of Pollution in the lake. Biosolids are fertilizers made when human waste is mixed with chemicals be spread on crops. According to scientists, reducing the runoff Pollution would reduce the severity of the algae bloom.
See the Toxic Algae bloom on Lake Erie
For 2019, 46,000 metric tons of bacteria make up Lake Erie’s algae bloom. As Climate change makes way in the Midwest, increasing rains and storms erode soils. These soils cannot keep runoff Pollution and therefore the Pollution makes its way into lakes and rivers. The other harbinger of Climate change is warmer temperatures. Warming temperatures are ideal for bacterial algae to grow. There is now more algae, for longer times in the year.
But runoff remains unregulated. Wade Kapszukiewicz is the current mayor of Toledo. He says the midwest’s water make it an invaluable part of the future. The mayor said of the current system, “The amount of manure from pigs, chickens and cows that goes into the western basin, that seeps untreated directly into Lake Erie, is roughly equivalent to all human waste from the cities of Chicago and Los Angeles combined.”
Lake Erie is also plagued with plastic Pollution. Research by Professor Sherri Mason found 100 million pieces of plastic in the lake. Plastics found include bottles, straws, and microplastics. Mason said the way to stop plastic from getting into the lake is, “People are going to have to voice what they want, and do it loudly to the companies and the legislators. The more we demand it, the more it will happen.”
Read these articles to learn what you can do to help, Toxic Algae Blooms Threaten Humans and Marine Animals: How We Can Make a Difference and Animal Agriculture – Killing More than Just Cows. How Farm Run-Off Threatens Marine Life. Or read more about the link between dairy and algae blooms, Reality Check: Our Obsession With Cheese is Turning Lake Erie Into Toxic Dump. And how you can help the Great Lakes, The Great Lakes are in Great Trouble, but There’s One Simple Thing You Can Do to Save Them.
Shifting to a more plant-based diet and curbing meat consumption can tremendously help the planet, The United Nation recently released a report warning countries about the dangers of climate change and has urged people to eat more plant-based as a way to curb it. We highly recommend downloading the Food Monster App — with over 15,000 delicious recipes it is the largest meatless, plant-based/vegan and allergy-friendly recipe resource to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy! And, while you are at it, we encourage you to also learn about the environmental and health benefits of a plant-based diet.
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