U.S. Water News Online
WASHINGTON -- Thirty years after Canada and the United
States agreed to clean up the Great Lakes, the waters remain too
polluted for unrestricted fishing and swimming, according to a report
released by a commission monitoring the work.
The International Joint Commission, created in 1972, found that
progress in cleaning up the Great Lakes was slow and many challenges
remain, such as ridding the waters of invasive species and
Pollution from industry and development settles to the bottom of
the rivers and waterways of the Great Lakes, where it can be stirred
up naturally or by dredging. Research shows that contaminated
sediment has caused tumors and impaired reproduction in fish, caused
birth defects in birds and mammals and increased cancer risk in
``This is really a public health problem,'' said Dennis Schornack,
who represents the United States on the commission. ``It's not that
we are dissatisfied with the cleanup efforts that are going on, but
the pace is so slow and the lack of a focal point and resources ...
is somewhat lacking.''
Schornack said the governments of both countries need to commit
substantially more resources to clean up the Great Lakes, which
supply drinking water to more than 30 million people and have more
than 600 beaches on U.S. shores.
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