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Wednesday, June 23

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The Mechanics
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Chicagoland Wed Jul 29 2009

NRDC Releases Report on Great Lakes Pollution

beach.jpgAhh, mid-summer. It's a good time to think about finally scheduling that relaxing day at the beach along Lake Michigan. But take a closer look at the water you're about to take a swim in -- the Natural Resources Defense Council has some unpleasant news about what's lurking underneath.

According to the Council's annual survey of water quality, "pollution caused the number of beach closings and advisories to hit their fourth-highest level in the 19-year history of the report." The report notes that old and "poorly designed" sewage and stormwater systems are two main factors causing beachwater pollution. How did Illinois fare?

Our fair state ranked 27th in beachwater quality, taking into account the state's 52 public swimming beaches along roughly 60 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline.

According to a press release, for the first time, the report links the effects of climate change to beachwater quality, noting that "climate change is anticipated to influence the presence of pathogens that cause stomach flu, diarrhea and neurological problems in America's beachwater."

"The Great Lakes are one of the nation's most valuable resources, but they are not being treated as such," noted NRDC Midwest Program Deputy Director Andrew Wetzler, in a press release. "This report points to a huge regional problem as 1/5 of the world's fresh water supply is being compromised by sewage, agricultural runoff, and invasive species. Beachgoers being forced into an emergency trip to the bathroom or taking sick days are bad enough; but if we don't get serious about protecting the lakes, the public health issues will be far more severe."


Read the full report here, and view the council's report on Illinois here (.pdf). You can view tips when visiting the beach here.

 
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Feature

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...

Civics

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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