Legal Bill Would Grant Personhood Status To Lake Erie, Helping Fight Pollution

Source: The Guardian/Daniel McGraw

Photo: NASA/Wikimedia Commons 

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In early August 2014, Crystal Jankowski was late in her pregnancy and knew she was about due. In was hot and humid where she lived in Toledo, Ohio and she remembers just wanting to relax in a cool shower.

But the graphic designer could not take one. The water source for Toledo is Lake Erie, and an algae bloom caused in part by phosphorous runoff from farms had sickened the lake with an overload of “microcystin” bacteria. The city banned drinking the water for a week and “children, the elderly and pregnant women” were instructed not to even shower.

“My gynecologist told me, ‘Don’t even touch the water, it could make you and your baby very sick,’ and that really got to me,” she said.

“So many of us in the community realized we had to do something about this.”

They did, and the citizens of Toledo, on the western basin of Lake Erie, will now be voting on a controversial legal bill on 26 February. What they will be deciding is whether Lake Erie has the same legal rights as a corporation or person.

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Photo: NASA/Wikimedia Commons

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