By Rachel Houng and Mirolla Mekaiel
Pollution has been a prevalent issue for the environment since industrialization. As factories continue to manufacture and the population continues to grow it is possible that pollution will only get worse. According to the 2017 Lancet Commission on pollution and health, globally, one in six deaths are linked to pollution, which is equivalent to nine million deaths. There is much debate as to whether the situation will improve or worsen. The only way this situation can improve is if people become more aware of the circumstances and actually set a common goal to reach. But, if these changes do not happen soon, then it may be too late.
Microplastics, which are fragments of any type of plastic, have been posing a serious threat to humans, animals and plants. The plastic that people think is being recycled actually ends up in huge landfills, and much of it gets washed out into soil and water. The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) published a story about how the microplastics then disintegrate and decompose in the soil and water and can therefore enter into the food chain. Although the effects of consuming polluted water and food are not present instantaneously, consuming such harmful substances has very bad long term effects.
The effects of pollution and the disintegration of microplastics in soil and water have recently been prevalent due to the fact that one in six deaths have been caused by pollution for the past few years. The Lancet Commission also found that these 9 million deaths have been more specifically caused by air pollution (6.7 million), water pollution (1.4) and lead poisoning (<1 million). The sad truth is that most of these deaths take place in countries that have low-middle income. These countries cannot afford the luxury of using better resources to recycle and decrease their pollution. Furthermore, the fact that the air and water that are the most needed to sustain life and are now causing death, is very concerning and sad. Pollution is going to continue to increase in the future. This raises many concerns and problems for the future generations that will have to deal with the issues that this generation is causing.
Artwork by Guneet Hanjra
Many believe that fast fashion companies are creating too much waste, which will hurt the environment.
There are many layers to this issue because of the fact that the current generation heavily interacts with fast fashion and the media.
Fast fashion partially contributes to pollution because of the demand for cheap clothing. Despite the fact that the clothing is not made to last, the cheap pricing entices many people. Earth.org, a not-for profit environmental organization, found that this has caused a large amount of wasted material with 57% ending up in landfills, emitting chemicals that are not safe for the environment. Even with the profound impacts on the environment, some students feel as though they do not think about pollution enough.
“I don’t think about it a lot unless I’m in the city or if it is a topic in class. It’s important because it’s not talked about unless in our curriculum,” sophomore Mathew Roshan said.
There is also the question of how the media interacts with pollution because of how individuals depend on getting their information from the media.
“My biggest issue with the media on pollution is that it often frames individuals as the cause when the average person barely contributes to it. There’s a lot of reliable media that tells you the stats and ways to decrease your carbon footprint, but it still seems difficult for them to say what the real cause is,” senior Daniella Canning said.
Students believe that it is important to take action against pollution in order to become more educated.
“As students and members of a community, I think we can take action by spreading knowledge on what’s actually happening through posters, presentations or videos, and starting fundraisers for organizations working to help deal with pollution,” eighth grader Jordan Jacob said.
Many believe it is important to take action against pollution because of the environmental impacts that have the potential to influence future generations negatively. Many also believe it is important for people to become educated and aware of this current life-threatening problem. As numbers continue to rise, in many classrooms, students are highly encouraged to research further into how pollution is negatively affecting the world. Upon doing so, the media places an emphasis on informing peers, friends, teachers and family members of what is going on and how it can lead to bad outcomes.
However, many are hopeful that it is not too late to change what is happening. While many believe that the impact of one can not solve pollution by themselves but together, they believe people can reduce their own pollution and leave the rest up to big authority figures to handle. After being informed and aware of the topic at hand, many are optimistic that, step-by-step, pollution can decrease and future generations can have a bright and healthy world.