Sudbury is part of the Great Lakes Ecosystem. Water in toilets flushed in Sudbury, along with waters from mine tailings, flows into Lake Huron and pass under the swing bridge on Manitoulin Island
The new partnership of residents who live year-round on the islands in the Great Lakes, called the Great Lakes Islands Alliance (GLIA), held its third annual Summit on Mackinac Island in Lake Michigan in October.
As with previous gatherings, participants reminded themselves that the Great Lakes hold about 20 per cent of the world’s fresh water and living on islands comes with the responsibility of protecting the integrity of this critical resource.
Participants have come to visualize the five Great Lakes as gently sloping eastward from the west coast of Lake Superior to the east coast of Lake Ontario, and as a result, Great Lakes waters eventually flow into the St. Lawrence River and the Atlantic Ocean.
Of concern to island residents is that this eastward flow means that pollution in the waters of Thunder Bay and Duluth, for example, will eventually make its way around and past all the Great Lakes islands to the east. Likewise, pollution from the islands, along with that of cities on the shoreline such as Milwaukie, Sault Ste. Marie, and Cleveland, ends up flowing around islands to the east.
Of all the topics discussed at the three annual summits, environmental issues were the most prominent. Impacts of climatic change, loss of forests and biodiversity, and invasive species were all of concern, but issues relating to water quality were particularly highlighted.
Sudbury is not on the shores of a Great Lake, but it is in the Great Lakes watershed, so I decided to research the various forms of polluted wastewaters that are discharged from the Sudbury region and the route they take as they flow away from our region.
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