By Victoria Chyra
Pollution can be found everywhere and it affects us more than we even think.
Lake Champlain is tucked in the Champlain Valley between the Adirondack Mountains, New York and the Green Mountains of Vermont. It’s a great attraction for many locals. It is used for sports fishing, hunting and recreation and it’s also the major source for drinking water for nearly 200.000 people.
In 2012. groups of toxins were reviewed for the first time by the Lake Champlain Basin Program and partners. Specific contaminants within these groups were labeled as substances of concern.
The pollution did not occur suddenly and wasn’t caused by just one source. First of all, Vermont’s Winooski River dumps about 20,000 metric tons of chloride in the lake per year, and at the same time the runoff from rainwater and snowmelt flows into the water. On top of that,there was an excessive growth of algae found which is caused by too much phosphorus; this comes predominantly from agriculture. Because of that, large reductions are needed from farms within the Lake Champlain watershed. This amount of algae creates danger because of its toxicity for animals and even humans. It has been a problem in recent years, which led to beaches having to close. Signs were put up to discourage visitors from swimming in the lake, like in July 2021 at Burlington’s Blanchard Beach.
In the Year 2021 the Vermont government stated after years of starting the Lake Champlain Basin Program, which is in partnership with government agencies from New York, Vermont and Quebec to coordinate and fund efforts that benefit the Lake Champlain Basins water quality, fisheries, wetlands, recreation and cultural resources, that the water quality meets several standards for swimmable and fishable waters but there is still a long way before declining victory against the pollution at the Lake.
And even locals can help to decrease pollution at their known Lake by just following five simple steps:
Always avoid releasing untreated sewage into lakes and rivers as it gets mixed with water and pollutes it.
Don’t throw any solid waste into the water streams as it clogs the flow of water thereby leading to pollution.
Avoid releasing construction waste into the river. Use organic gardening techniques and avoid using pesticides and other herbicides.
Avoid releasing harmful chemicals and oils into storm drains or rivers.
Always check that your car engine is not spilling oil that finds its way into drains and then rivers.