Lake Michigan is one of the core reasons the City of Chicago thrives today. It supplies our drinking water, as well as provides for a beautiful backdrop for the city. That is why it is of paramount importance to protect it, which the City, Coast Guard and local agencies help to protect. For a long time, Chicago allowed people to openly dump waste into the Chicago River, which would then carry into Lake Michigan, causing diseases to be created and spread. After the Chicago Fire, when the river was so polluted it was caught fire, the city entered a long battle to clean up and restore the river and lake. This now means that any illegal dumps or oil spills that are found a large fine. Mark Kirk recently proposed that communities doing the dumping will be assessed “fines are increased from $37,500 to $100,000 a day per violation.” (Kirk, 2015) While dumping still occurs, these measures have done a good job at reducing the amount of dumping done by most companies, and almost all of individual boaters. I worked on a tour boat company over the summer, and we had extremely strict guidelines as to how we were supposed to treat waste. It was paramount to make sure that no chemicals, oil, or anything that wasn’t supposed to be in the lake went in the lake. I feel that in order to make sure the Lake is still secure, fines must be increased and more work must be done to show people how important the lakes health is to all of us. We have seen lack of access to water become a huge deal in this country, and with over 80% of the United States surface freshwater residing around the Great Lakes (Kirk, 2015), it would be disastrous to any politician’s career to let that fall into danger.
City of Chicago. (2016). Illegal Fly Dumping, Trash Dumping. Retrieved from The City of Chicago’s Official Site: https://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/cdph/provdrs/environmental_permitsregulation/svcs/report_an_illegaldumping.html
Kirk, M. (2015, July 2). Kirk: Dumping sewage into Great Lakes must stop. Retrieved from Chicago Tribune: http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/daily-southtown/opinion/ct-sta-kirk-column-st-0703-20150702-story.html