Ontarians are very fortunate to have Lake Ontario and other parts of the Great Lakes to the tune of $1.8 billion in sales of clean water and clean water technologies to the world due to the following reasons.
- “Ontario borders on four of the five Great Lakes which contain 20 per cent of the world’s fresh water and hold 95 per cent of North America’s fresh surface water.
- We have more than a quarter of a million lakes, rivers and streams and rich groundwater resources – not to mention a multitude of plants and animals that necessarily thrive in such lush surroundings.
- The Great Lakes Basin — Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, Lake Erie and Lake Ontario and their watersheds — covers an area of 750,000-square kilometres. That’s an area larger than New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island combined.
- More than 98 per cent of Ontario residents — 11 million people — live within the Great Lakes Basin. Most live near the shores, in eight of Canada’s 20 largest cities, which include Toronto, Hamilton, Windsor and Sarnia.
- The people of Ontario depend on the Great Lakes for their drinking water.
- Over 70 per cent, or three out of four residents, get their drinking water from the Lakes.
- The Ontario portion of the Great Lakes water supply provide recreational enjoyment, economic values (industries, farming, fishing, shipping), and power as a source of renewable and non-renewable energy. For example, lake winds power turbines to create electricity, while deep beneath the bottoms of some lakes lie stores of oil and natural gas.”
So, with the world-wide increasing demand for clean, fresh water, it is very important to protect Ontario’s portion of the Great Lakes Basin water supply for us and our children to use and enjoy now and in the future.
For 2011, the Minister’s Award for Environmental Excellence is focused on water and toxics reduction because the government wants to protect our fresh water from pollution, whether it’s from industrial sources, sewage systems, chemicals in use at farms, or any other source – even rainwater containing particulates from polluted air.
Protecting water at its source is a good move forward by the government and everyone in ensuring that every Ontarian has access to safe drinking water.
So nominate a friend, community member or business in recognition of their efforts to help protect and conserve our environment. You can even nominate yourself.
Please note that the ministry will be accepting nominations for the Minister’s Award for Environmental Excellence until May 6, 2011.
All applications must be received by 5:00 p.m. May 6, 2011.