Lake Michigan beaches were closed more often this summer than ever before. As the Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Jonathan Ahl reports, beach closings can translate into significant economic loss:
Lake Michigan beaches were closed more often this summer than ever before. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Jonathan Ahl reports.
A report from the Lake Michigan Federation shows an all-time high of 600 beach closings in 2001. High levels of bacteria found in the water caused most of the closings. Federation director Cameron Davis says in addition to the environmental problems, the closings have an economic impact on the region:
“Take a look at a place like Chicago that gets 60 million visitors a year to the lakefront. And you get a beach closing Labor Day weekend or a fourth of July weekend. You’re looking at millions of people, some from around the world, that can’t visit the beaches here.”
Davis says the bacteria is getting into the water when heavy rains force wastewater and sewage carrying human and animal waste past treatment plants and into the lake. The Lake Michigan Federation is setting up a center to help citizens and community groups solve bacteria problems at beaches. For the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, I’m Jonathan Ahl.