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Environment/Sustainability Wed Aug 26 2009

Alliance for the Great Lakes launches new campaign

2879409981_1d5198ac1a.jpgCare about the state of the five Great Lakes? The folks at the non-profit Alliance for the Great Lakes are launching a new campaign/ Web site,, devoted to just this topic. From an e-mail sent today:

The Alliance is launching a new project, and tomorrow we need your help.

We're taking to the airwaves to raise awareness about the importance of the Great Lakes, the threats they face, and how everyone can help. The first wave of our new "This is My Water" campaign kicks off next week on radio stations throughout the Great Lakes region.

Along with the radio announcements, a new website shows where to find information about water quality, water conservation, beach health and invasive species. From the website, people can learn ways to help improve the lakes in their personal lives, with business or government, and with the Alliance.

There are some startling facts mentioned in the Web site:

  • Sewer Overflow: Each year, more than 24 billion gallons of untreated sewage and storm water is dumped into the Great Lakes.
  • Unhealthy beaches: Last year, 90 Great Lakes beaches were unfit for swimming for at least 14 days during the summer. Some sources: stormwater runoff, outdated sewer systems that release untreated wastewater into lakes, rivers and streams; phosphorous and nitrogen runoff; and trash that attracts increased wildlife.

And more interesting facts from one of the .pdfs provided on the Web site:

Each year the lakes are subjected to sewage discharges, industrial waste and chemical pollutants that harm our drinking water and the ecosystems that naturally purify that water. Mercury, PCBs and other chemicals do not naturally get flushed from the lakes. Instead, they collect in the tissue of Great Lakes fish and make their way up the food chain to people. Some children exposed to contaminants show lower IQs and developmental delays.

The Alliance lists these tips for helping keep the lakes clean:

  • Take unused medications to a disposal center and don't flush them down the toilet.

  • Don't dump anything down storm drains.

  • Reduce water use during heavy rains to avoid overburdening the sanitary sewer system.

  • If you notice a source of pollution entering a river, stream or lake in your community, contact local leaders and ask them to protect Great Lakes water quality.

Full disclosure: I volunteered in the Alliance's offices a few times last year.

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Parents Still Steaming, but About More Than Just Boilers

By Phil Huckelberry / 2 Comments

It's now been 11 days since the carbon monoxide leak which sent over 80 Prussing Elementary School students and staff to the hospital. While officials from Chicago Public Schools have partially answered some questions, and CPS CEO Forrest Claypool has informed that he will be visiting the school to field more questions on Nov. 16, many parents remain irate at the CPS response to date. More...


Substance, Not Style, the Source of Rahm's Woes

By Ramsin Canon / 2 Comments

It's not surprising that some of Mayor Emanuel's sympathizers and supporters are confusing people's substantive disputes with the mayor as the effect of poor marketing on his part. It's exactly this insular worldview that has gotten the mayor in hot... More...

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