Windsor engineer worried about climate change's impact on water quality in the Great Lakes

·2 min read
Saad Jasim, president of the International Ozone Association, says the impact of climate change on the Great Lakes is quite visible in the form of harmful algal blooms. (Dale Molnar/CBC - image credit)
Saad Jasim, president of the International Ozone Association, says the impact of climate change on the Great Lakes is quite visible in the form of harmful algal blooms. (Dale Molnar/CBC - image credit)

A Windsor-based engineer said climate change is taking a toll on the health of the Great Lakes and this could in turn have an impact on the quality of drinking water for millions of people.

Saad Jasim, who is also president of the International Ozone Association, said the impact of climate change on the Great Lakes is quite visible in the form of harmful algal blooms.

"But it's not just the way it looks, these algal blooms produce some fatal toxins … there are different species of those toxins [and] unfortunately only one of the species is regulated by Health Canada," Jasim told CBC Windsor.

"These toxins contaminate the ecosystem, including fish, and if you water the farms with contaminated water, that's going to go into the food, into the agriculture products and we're going to eat it," Jasim added.

Jasim said the Great Lakes account for 20 per cent of the world's fresh water.

But he said more than 1,000 sewage treatment plants are discharged into the lakes and this means more contaminants coming into the drinking water systems.

CBC
CBC

According to Jasim around 50 million people live around the Great Lakes and they all drink from that source.

"Not everybody swims, not everybody eats the fish but everybody uses that water for drinking," he said.

Jasim said maintaining a high quality for water in the Great Lakes should be a priority for governments.

Meanwhile, two years after Windsor city councillors unanimously agreed to declare a climate change emergency, Lori Newton, executive director of Bike Windsor-Essex "there are some glimmers of movement forward."

Katerina Georgieva/CBC
Katerina Georgieva/CBC

Newton said one of the big achievements in cycling facilities in the City of Windsor was the Rhodes Drive project.

"That's facilitating safe cycling to workplaces. We would like there to be more but that's a really positive thing," Newton told CBC News.

"Also, I understand that e-bikes have been added to the scooter program so that's really good news as well that we're encouraging cycling."

"But we know that the most important thing that we can do is to encourage people to take public transit and to be active in getting around the city," Newton added.

She said instead of incentivising city workers to park their cars at a reduced rate in a parking garage, the city should consider reversing that and incentivising people who work there and want to walk or ride their bikes.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting