Warning: Hazardous by Riann Beydoun

There is a massive crisis being overlooked, and it’s not just on a national level. It’s the issue of our pollution. Our pollution is more than just seeing some cans in a park, it’s things like the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, and global warming.

This issue is being overlooked by not only the general population but the people who can make a difference. I mean the people in positions of power, like government jobs, who are not doing anything to help. 

It’s gotten to a point where even children like Rwan Mashrah are starting to be concerned about how much pollution we produce; “I’m concerned about the environment because no one seems to be doing anything, and I don’t want to be stuck with something I can’t change”.

Rwan Mashrah

Because of how big our landfills are getting and the microplastics everywhere, without the people in power intervening, recycling might not be enough anymore. 

With things like the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, the size of our landfills, and the amount of air pollution we have, it’s hard to imagine what could be causing all of this. While some would blame the government, it’s not entirely their fault.

Garbage island

Ms. Mashrah believes that the blame belongs to “Companies and factories because they produce a lot of Co2”

Zeinab Alghanem, of Sunrise Movement Dearborn, states that “Environmental issues are racially driven and capitalistic. It is impossible to treat environmental issues exclusive to racism and exclusive to capitalism. Corporations regard profit over people in the city of Dearborn. The lack of respect for human bodies, specifically Brown and Black bodies…”, and she seems to be right.


Zeinab Alghanem

Big corporations and governments are mainly responsible for pollution, and where it ends up can be very racially driven. Capitalism is when all of the major corporations and things in power are all owned by the same few companies and people who operate outside of the government. 

Smog in China

Studies have shown that most of Earth’s pollution comes from Southeast Asian countries, especially China. It’s most likely due to the country’s urbanization and the mass of its population. This has caused a need for more fossil fuels and single-use plastic.

 It has been found that China produces almost 10,00 metric tons of Co2 from their burning of fossil fuels, and they produce half of all global coal (3,708,155,408 tons). Fossil fuels are things that have come from a natural process and most likely have high carbon content, like coal and oil.

Even big fashion and clothing brands are responsible for some of the carbon dioxide.

Companies like Gucci, H&M, Nike, Burberry (formerly), and so many more are burning clothes. They are solely doing so to reduce the number of their products circulating and promote the demand in tens of tons. Demanding accountability from corporations and demanding greener practices could make a huge difference”,Zeinab Alghanem explained. 

Fashion is responsible for about 10% of all carbon emissions, this is not only because of them burning their items to keep them from circling, but fast fashion and the chemicals used. 

Even the process of getting fossil fuels from the earth is harmful. It’s called fracking. It can contaminate ground and surface water, uses millions of gallons of water, puts wildlife in danger, and there is a chance it’s causing earthquakes. And I don’t think they plan on stopping anytime soon. 

Kenya is the leading country in anti-plastic legislation and has a ban on the use, import, and manufacturing of plastic. And China has bans on most plastics and plans on fully banning single-use plastic by 2025. But that’s not all.

There’s a new bill that’s been introduced, it’s called The Green New Deal and was written by U.S. rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (A.O.C.) and Senator Ed Markey. 

The green new deal introduces a plan to slow down and ultimately stop global warming by living sustainably with the use of as little fossil fuels as possible. This will happen by moving to electric vehicles, making homes energy efficient, and moving to more locally grown foods. And while all of this will be very expensive, it could create a lot more jobs. 

To protect the people who might be at risk of losing their homes due to the loss of an old job, like at an oil pump, it will offer universal healthcare, education, and training for the new jobs. 

It will also “rebuild the economy to make the flow of opportunity fair”.

However, some people disagree with this new bill. It’s been called “Wasteful and reckless spending”, “Destructive socialist daydream”, and unrealistic.

 Most of the people who have said this have been rich, white people who are benefiting from the current system, or as Maryam Shafie of Sunrise Movement Dearborn would put it, “Unfortunately, many politicians are in opposition to the GND (green new deal) because they are under the influence of fossil fuel executives. This is a huge conflict of interest. Politicians will not vote for legislation that is opposed to the companies that are putting money in their pockets.” but that’s an issue for another time. 

On an even more negative note, oil companies are planning on using more virgin plastics. Oil companies are also pressuring the U.S. to push Kenya to lift their restrictions on plastic. Also, it’s becoming cheaper for companies to get new plastic, rather than recycle. 

People need to understand what is happening in the world around them and how serious it is. This way, they can try to help, even if it’s by doing something small, like recycling. “I think if everybody recycled like I do, in the long run, maybe 10 or 20 years from now, it would make an impact, I don’t know how big of an impact, but it would make an impact” suggested Anthony Centek.

“Individuals can take steps to reduce their own carbon footprint by paying hands-free and skipping out on printed receipts, using tote bags instead of plastic, reducing their meat intake, carpooling or biking, or using bamboo toothbrushes”, believes Zeinab Aleghanem. They can also volunteer their time to pollution organizations and climate protests.

For people of age, they can vote. They can learn about what a politician’s goals for the environment are and vote to help make a difference.

I think most of them are all talk and no action, they come out with these promises and ideas that are never fulfilled, for the last 20 years they’ve been talking about different things, and they can’t and haven’t done it and where the public can see”. expressed Mr. Anthony, on how he feels politicians have dealt with environmental issues.

Some people may think that for some reason, they’re absolved from the dangers of our pollution, but that isn’t true at all.

While they are many organizations dedicated to taking care of the environment, most of the power is held within the top 1%. The top 1% are the people who hold an unreasonable amount of money, and therefore power. I mean people like Jeff Bezos, whose worth is estimated at 186.5 billion dollars, could sustain over 170,000 average people living in New York for their whole lives with the amount of money he has. Or Bill Gates, who is worth an estimated 119.3 billion dollars, who could provide over 130,000 average people with healthcare for their entire lives. 

The issues facing our environment don’t just affect the 34 million people who live in poverty in the U.S. who won’t be able to afford a sustainable life, but it affects everyone who can’t escape the Earth. 

Riann Beydoun

8th grade Journalism

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