Introduction The Great Lakes provide almost half the water for the residents of Ontario. The Great Lakes also provides water to residents in Thunder Bay, Port Hope, Sault St Marie, Niagara and many parts of The United States to name a few. With 70% of the Earth covered in water only 0.1% of it is clean accessible drinking water. The Great Lakes plays a major role in helping to provide water for people that live near the American/Canadian border. However, this resource is being mistreated. Water pollution is a growing problem in the Great Lakes. The Great Lakes is being contaminated by pollutants that are released from direct and indirect sources without proper treatment. This is causing the lake to being polluted with harmful chemicals. By identifying the cause we can take initiative to help conserve the Great Lakes and to help restore it to its natural beauty. Sources of Water Pollution The first step in helping the Great Lakes is to identify the source of the pollution. If divided there are three main sources of water pollution; point source pollution, nonpoint source pollution, and air pollution. These three sources contribute to the pollution of the Great Lakes. Point Source Pollution With Point Source Pollution the pollutants are coming directly from one known source. This source is usually an industry (such as a factory) that releases its garbage into the lake. This garbage could range from water from employee bathrooms to animal carcasses all the way to toxic chemicals and oils from machines. Having the source of the pollution known this source of pollution has been the easiest and quickest to stop. Nearly all Point Source Pollutants have been tracked down and have been regulated since 1972. Because of this, the number of sewage companies has also doubled to help regulate and treat the waste. An example of point source pollution is factories, in the olden days, there was a common belief that if factories diluted their waste it would, make it less harmful and hence no longer be a pollutant. However, this belief of theirs was wrong and is one of the main contributors to the pollution in the Great Lakes. Pulp and paper factories would dilute the chemicals used and then disperse them into the water. One of the main chemicals disposed into the lake was mercury (Hg). Even in small quantities mercury is very harmful to humans. Mercury can affect the major organ systems of a human such as their digestive, respiratory, immune system, kidney, eyes, and other body part. Having this in the water that is drunken by thousands of people everyday makes it very dangerous. Another example of point source pollution is the waste being disposed from household bathrooms. This waste contains fecal matter which contains many infectious diseases such as E.Coli, Salmonella and many more, these bacterium’s are harmful for humans and if attacked by them can cause serious illness. 20% of the water tested in Lake Michigan (part of Great Lakes) was found to have human fecal matter in 2004. With the increase in population there is a high chance this number has increased and spread to other lakes as well. A study showed that many houses with this antiquated system often released partially treated or even untreated sewage directly into the lakes. The over flowed water is directly dispersed into the lake before it has a chance to be treated. This happens because the water from household(s) and water from precipitation are put through the same pipe (the large one “combined sewage”) because of this dual sewage system if there is too much precipitate the sewage overflows and this is when it overflows directly into the lake. This causes pollutants to get into the lake and harm the ecosystem residing in the lake. Nonpoint Source Pollution Unlike Point Source Pollution the source from the where the pollution is coming from is usually unknown this makes it harder to regulate. Nonpoint Source Pollution is usually from natural matters such as melted snow carrying debris, rain from floods, gravel/oil/salt flown off highways and fertilizer and pesticide residue from nearby farms. Having such diverse and uncontrollable sources has made it difficult to control making it an underlying problem even today. Air Pollution Also known as Air Deposition is the third source of pollution. Air Pollution is a type of Nonpoint Source Pollution but unlike others Air Pollution comes from the sky not land. Air Pollution is the hardest of the three to control because the pollutants are moved through air and get caught in the water cycle. They are usually released as some form of precipitation. Affects of Water Contamination The Case of the Three Eyed FishWith the increase in pollution over the years, wildlife in the Great Lakes is also being affected along with people. On March 20th, 2014 a man caught a three eyed fish from Lake Nipissing. This surreal fish had 2 eyes and then an extra on top of them in the middle. People have been hypothesizing how this fish may have come about. Many have said it’s from a nuclear spill or an old uranium mine but one thing is for sure the cause is pollution of some sort. The Great lakes is home to over 4000 species about a 100 of which are rare plants and animals but these organisms are on the edge of extinction because of all the pollution in the lakes. With on 3 eyed fish on the way there are possibilities for other mutations of this sort to occur as the years go by and the pollution in the lakes increase. The article above is an example of how dangerous the water in the Great Lakes is becoming. Imagine this happening to a human next from nuclear poisoning. Through point source pollution this fish was exposed to nuclear substances or uranium both of which are dangerous for humans and other organisms. 

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