SUNY Oswego Joins Community to Stop Lake Ontario Pollution SUNY Oswego Works With Community Against Lake Ontario Pollution

SUNY Oswego students shine a light on pollution in Lake Ontario.

By Keir Chapman OSWEGO, N.Y. (NCC News) — It’s impossible to ignore the immediate problem plaguing Lake Ontario. Water levels have risen to unprecedented levels after an especially rainy start to spring.

The lake has already surpassed the heights of the 2017 flooding at 248.98 feet. The first few days of June have also seen a fair share of rain, meaning the problem will only get worse before it gets better.

However, as summer begins and the rains slows down, the water levels are expected to recede. Although the flooding may be done, the problem of pollution will still be at hand. A 2017 study by the New York State comptroller stated 796,753 people in the suburban parts of Monroe and Onondaga counties received drinking water from Lake Ontario.

Three million pounds of plastic litter the lake each year. Chemical and oil spills are two other ways humans have polluted Lake Ontario. In response, SUNY Oswego and its host city have teamed up to create the Grand Challenges Project. The goal is to help clean up and bring attention to the pollution in the lake.

Amy Bartell, the community art coordinator at the university, explained why she and other members of the project, took up the cause of protecting Lake Ontario.

“I believe we all have a responsibility to do what we can where we are,” Bartell said. “We happen to be on the shores of Lake Ontario. That view is our’s, and that shoreline is our’s to protect.”

Bartell oversees the We Are Lake Ontario exhibit that currently resides at SUNY Oswego Downtown. Advanced art students at the university used their talents to create pieces that bring attention to the pollution in the lake. Bartell commended the efforts of those who contributed.

“I really appreciate the vitality and commitment of our students to use their talents and their education in service of the forces of good,” Bartell said. “Their energies and talents and time have gone toward something bigger than us individually.”

The gallery opened on May 23 and will run until September 6.

Reporter: The flooding of Lake Ontario has saturated New York newscasts. Water levels have already reached nearly 250 feet matching the peak of the 20-17 floods. The great lake faces a greater problem however. Nearly 1 million New Yorkers get their drinking water from Lake Ontario. Years of pollution have compromised this pivotal body of water. The coordinator for community art at SUNY Oswego Amy Bartell speaks to the importance Lake Ontario plays in its surrounding communities.

Amy Bartell: “It’s a source of inspiration, it’s a source of commerce, it’s a source of transportation. It is vital to the integrity and the sustenance of the community.”

Reporter: Art students at SUNY Oswego concerned about the condition of Lake Ontario took part in the We are Lake Ontario art exhibit. The pieces are displayed at the downtown campus and are used to bring awareness to the pollution in the lake. Bartell takes pride in the students’ efforts.

Amy Bartell: “Their energies, and talents, and time have gone toward something bigger than us individually. It has gone toward our community and toward something of a global importance.”

Reporter: The gallery is part of the Grand Challenges project. This is a campus and community collaboration to bring attention to and help clean up the pollution in the Great Lakes. The We Are Lake Ontario Exhibit will be open until September 6.

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