Lake Michigan politely returns our trash | Bleader

Friday, August 19, 2011

Lake Michigan politely returns our trash

Posted By on 08.19.11 at 10:35 AM

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I recently wrote about how much I love swimming in the lake, and how I sometimes see litter on the lake bottom when I'm offshore a couple hundred yards.

That hasn't been an issue this week. Winds, currents, and waves stirred up the water enough that it's been so cloudy I could barely see my hands in front me as I swam.

Instead, the weather conditions have pushed some of our waste right back onto shore. It tends to accumulate next to breakers and piers, forming heaps of seaweed, cans, bottles, plastic bags, and other junk. Here's a pic of some of the two-foot-high pile that amassed next to the Pratt pier near where I live (and swim):


As I was checking it out last evening, a woman who identified herself as a neighborhood mother approached me and expressed her disgust. "What do we pay taxes for?" she said.

I share her frustration—it's true that funding for Great Lakes cleanup and restoration has lagged well behind the need. And litter is hardly the worst of the lake's health problems.

On the other hand, I don't know how many of those beer cans and water bottles were dropped on the ground and left to get blown into the water by members of Congress.

Meanwhile, it's become popular for Republican presidential candidates to boast about their disdain for environmental standards and the EPA.

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