The US Great Lakes are treasured and iconic wonders of North America’s natural splendor. Countless families and individuals flock there for fun and thousands of species of animals, fish, insects, and birds call those waters home. Being important waterways, they also hold major economic importance for more than 1.3 million Americans and provide fresh drinking water to 40 million Americans.
After many years of pollution, these vital bodies of water will receive a significant injection of funds and revitalization efforts.
In February 2022, it was announced that $1 billion of federal funding will be dedicated to cleaning up polluted areas of the Great Lakes Basin, per the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will clean up, strengthen nearby infrastructure, and improve nearby supporting communities in 22 identified areas of concern.
What does the cleanup involve?
The action plan aims to make all fish safe to eat, ensure that water at all sites is safe to drink, remove toxic substances, reduce harmful agricultural runoff, protect and restore native land and water animal species, and ensure the resiliency of those species.
The plan also entails educating children in nearby communities in science and the ecological importance of the Great Lakes region. This is one part of the plan’s aim to improve the vital infrastructure of the communities near the area of concern to help the natural area and its people.
The Justice40 Initiative?
This is a governmental initiative designed to ensure environmental and economic improvement guided along a structure of racial justice. As part of the Justice40 Initiative, at least 40 percent of the federal funds allocated to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative will go toward those designated “disadvantaged communities.” Near the Great Lakes, this will include cities like Sheboygan, Wisconsin, Buffalo, New York, Lorain, and Duluth, Minnesota.
This governmental step in synergy is an important measure in ensuring that in the future humans can coexist with their environments.
This story was part of our Best of 2022 series highlighting our top solutions from the year. Today we’re featuring solutions in politics, policy-making, and governance.