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Assignment 3.1 Causes and Effects

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Cause and Effect
Assignment 3.1: Determining Causes and Effects – Draft Version
English 115
Known as the Laurentian Great Lakes for its connection to the St. Lawrence River, the lakes
combined make up nearly 20 percent of the world's fresh water (Latham, Wright, & Tsang, n.d.) Lakes
Erie, Huron, Michigan, Ontario, and Superior are 5 lakes that provide food, jobs, and recreation to the
surrounding regions reaching into two countries. The New York Times (2010) also estimate more than
30 million people are the recipient of potable water from the lakes. With over 3.2 million harvestable
fish worth an estimated 4.8 million dollars, Lake Huron is important to the fishing industry. According
to McCrimmon (2002), Lake Huron alone has over 117 species of fish. Lake Huron, as well as the
other great lakes, is also polluted. For this essay, pollution is the injection of biological or non-
biological elements into Lake Huron which are detrimental to the health of the lake and its
inhabitants. Sewage, along with additional factors and with far reaching effects, is the primary cause
of the decline of the various benefits the lake provides; it is harmful and potentially fatal to people,
jobs, the economy, and of course, the aquatic life and wildlife of the Lake Huron area.
There are quite a few types of pollution which are damaging Lake Huron. Industrial sewage and waste
may be, arguably, the most damaging cause of pollution. Additional causes of Lake Huron's pollution
also come from biological sources such as, ironically, other aquatic life. Industrial waste and non-
indigenous fish induced problems are not the only origins of pollution. People also play a part,
indirectly and directly, in polluting the lakes. Too often, trash is left behind after visiting the lake for
recreational purposes or trash is dumped intentionally. Gas and oil from boats or other recreational
water vehicles seep into the lakes though there is no intention to pollute.
A major cause of the pollution stems from years of abuse by commercial industries. Originally, many
did not understand the effects of dumping waste into water sources. There was no understanding of
what various chemicals would do to the food source within the lakes and ultimately the environment.
The lakes were used as a dumping ground in the hopes that the water would dilute any waste and
eventually get rid of it. This practice continued for decades and only began to slow down as the idea
of environmental conservation spread. A study done by the University of Michigan (Latham et al.,
n.d.) points out The Clean Water Act of 1972 was the first true governmental attempt at cleaning up
water sources and keeping them clean. In some instances, damage had already been done to both the
lake and its inhabitants. Riley’s (2008) report documenting the complete extirpation of some fish and
the diminishing presence of lake sturgeon supports this.
These point-source pollutants have provided some of the most destructive effects on Lake Huron. The
source of this type of pollution has been verified in most instances. Point source pollution is traceable
back to a delivery point such as the exit point of a sewer pipe from an industrial plant. (Latham, n.d.)

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