Pollution in the Great Lakes

Context

Reference to a current Michigan bill or law that relates in some way to your proposal:

Why this proposal will make a difference in the lives of students of all ages across Michigan, or a significant subgroup (by age, background, economic status, and/or region, etc.) of students in Michigan:

How and where did you learn about the issues underlying your proposal?

How has your service activity influenced your thinking about this proposal?

Link to your media artifact(s) giving background on the issue:

 

Consultations

Talk directly with at least 3 real live people who have special knowledge about this topic or the impact your proposal would have, and summarize their comments. These may include people appearing in your media artifact (video, podcast, etc.).

CONSULTATION 1: Mr. Coopersmith 

CONSULTATION 2:Mr. McCall 

CONSULTATION 3: Mrs. McClure

Prospectus:
  1. Half of the plastic pollution entering the Great Lakes—5,000 metrics tons per year—goes into Lake Michigan, followed by Lake Erie with 2,500 metric tons and Lake Ontario with 1,400 metric tons. Lake Huron receives 600 metric tons of plastic and Lake Superior, 32 metric tons per year. (Most plastic waste comes from urban areas surrounding tributaries that connect to the great lakes.)

 

  1. The toxic green algal officially known as Microcystis aeruginosabiomasses -- left nearly half a million residents in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan without access to Lake Erie drinking water for three days. Because of the excess amounts of chemicals being released into the great lakes, especially Lake Erie, there have been a rising number of cases of rapid, out of control, algae growth, causing dead zones all across the lake.

 

  1. Invasive species entering the great lakes. These species disrupt the local ecosystems that ruins the natural processes that take place in these lakes. Species like the asian carp, and zebra mussels push native species out of their habitats and ruins the natural processes of the lakes.


 

Potential Solutions:
  1. Training and requirements farmers must follow when using fertilizers to prevent excessive nutrients and waste from entering into the great lakes

 

  1. Penalties, regulations, and rules when using harmful chemicals  

 

  1. Focusing on zebra mussels will help ease the problems. We can implement decontamination protocols inside of the canals that the ships that carry this invasive species use to enter the great lakes. (In minnesota they implemented a similar program for local boats using machine and chemicals, the machines which had the greatest effect cost about $2500 and while that is only for smaller boats similar equipment can be used on the cargo ships.)

 

  1. Require companies to register the chemicals they use that ends up in their waste. This will allow the state of michigan to dispose of the pollution more efficiently. We  can also provide incentives for companies to take advantage of the waste from others if it is required.

 

Reaction or advice from a Topic Coordinator:

Solution Idea 1: Require chemical-producing companies to register their waste with the state of Michigan. If the state knows how much pollution to expect, they can dispose of it more appropriately. Also, what some companies consider waste, other companies consider inputs to production (believe it or not). If company X disposes plastic and company Y requires plastic to produce their product, a registered marketplace can actually create business and the state of Michigan can tax these transactions of waste.

The amount of plastic waste currently polluting the lakes is certainly an issue. However, you should find the reason why this is. For example, 5,000 tons of plastic waste pollutes the lakes because each company is allowed to dump XX.X tons of waste each year. Give more background and detail as to where and why the plastic pollution occurs.

 

Research process:

Our process consisted of splitting of the work evenly and combining our findings until it was completed.

 

Author contributions:

I looked up which law went along with our proposal.

Breanna was looking up problems and solutions to fertilizer runoff.

Alex looked up multiple issues.

Conner emailed consultants.

Kyle looked up a few cost estimates.

 

===FORMAL PROPOSAL=== Preambulatory clauses

Whereas there are 5000 metric tons of plastic added to the Great Lakes each year

Whereas plastic is not a biodegreadable 

Whereas toxic green algae has left millions without drinking water due to excessive chemical runoff

Whereas countless destructive invasive species enter the great lakes each year and out compete native species

Operative clauses

  1. Training and requirements farmers must follow when using fertilizers to prevent excessive nutrients and waste from entering into the great lakes

 

  1. Penalties, regulations, and rules when using harmful chemicals  

 

  1. Focusing on zebra mussels will help ease the problems. We can implement decontamination protocols inside of the canals that the ships that carry this invasive species use to enter the great lakes. (In minnesota they implemented a similar program for local boats using machine and chemicals, the machines which had the greatest effect cost about $2500 and while that is only for smaller boats similar equipment can be used on the cargo ships.)

 

  1. Require companies to register the chemicals they use that ends up in their waste. This will allow the state of michigan to dispose of the pollution more efficiently. We  can also provide incentives for companies to take advantage of the waste from others if it is required.
Counter-arguments:

1. The process of cleaning up all the issues and pollution is very expensive and time consuming.


2. We cannot require Michigan farmers to switch their methods of growing.

3. It is near to impossible to kill of invasive species without also killing of native species.

Costs and funding:

Using clay lining to prevent pesticide runoff averages around 5,000$

an acre and around 7,500$ per acre in rocky areas.

 

Building filtration plants to break down organic matter (activated sludge) would cost about $20,000,000.

 

 

References:

http://csanr.wsu.edu/organic-farming-environmental-benefit-yield-cost/

http://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(jzs43mgcjhej4ppfoyqt4crf))/mileg.aspx?page=home




 

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Total votes: 29

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