Top 4 biggest environmental problems in Michigan • Thumbwind

Every citizen has a guaranteed right to a healthy environment. According to experts, the stumbling blocks affecting Michigan are interconnected. Michigan’s environmental problems are mainly due to the inadequate action of various industries that neglect the damage they cause to nature. While influencing us daily to a large extent and shaping the modern age, we only become aware when they occur.

Contaminted air

Detroit smog in the summer

According to the American Lung Association, more than half of the people in the United States breathe air that can be hazardous to health. Particulate pollution – solid particles and droplets of various chemicals – is more common in large cities with coal-fired power plants and heavy diesel trucks, such as Chicago, New York and Detroit.

Nearly 13 million people in America suffer from asthma attacks due to chronic inflammation of the airways. Polluted air only aggravates its symptoms. Heart patients also suffer from dirty air, and all of this drives up health care costs, which has a big impact on Michigan residents as well. In addition, polluted air does not help the immune system of citizens who may need to respond to respiratory infections, including Covid 19, which in most cases attacks the airways and compromises breathing.

While the impact on respiratory and cardiovascular diseases is well documented, new scientific data shows that contamination also appears to be a risk factor for children’s health and even diabetes. Vulnerable and low-income groups are particularly affected, such as pregnant women and children. According to essays written by climate change experts published on Studydriver and dealing with the gender aspects of clean energy poverty, women in Michigan are more at risk and more exposed because they have lower incomes and spend twice as much time household chores than men. In addition, the elderly and those who already suffer from respiratory diseases and other serious illnesses are more than affected.

It is not an insoluble problem. Instead, new and innovative technical solutions and business models to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other forms of contamination at the local level should be developed to eliminate the risks.

Power stations

Michigan Environmental Issues - Coal Power Plant

Coal burning is the biggest source of contamination in Michigan, with power plants playing a significant role. Often, the companies that manage them do not respect or ask for exemptions from the law on harmful gas emissions. The same is true for other large combustion plants – the industrial plants that consume the most energy sources and are the most responsible for pollution in industrial activities and electricity generation.

It will not be possible to achieve carbon neutrality for half a century with coal-fired power plants. In addition, the industry risks financial collapse if it does not start adopting cleaner technologies quickly.

Suppose we only look at industry and power generation activity. These are steel mills, cement works, refineries and other hotbeds of local and wider corruption. Coal is also used in heavy industry and heating in central heating, small boiler rooms and households, so switching to cleaner fuels would eliminate this cause.

To combat air pollution, relevant institutions must have zero tolerance for violations of laws and standards. Civil society can contribute to this by strengthening its capacity to take legal action. In addition, legal interventions should be accompanied by awareness campaigns to gain support.

According to the Aarhus Convention, they have the right to participate in decision-making to analyze the impact of existing and planned industrial installations on the environment. Additionally, international citizens and organizations dealing with environmental issues can assist the Michigan Department.

Contaminated drinking water

Michigan Environmental Issues - Water Pollution

The Great Lakes contain 84% of North America’s fresh surface water. Yet thanks to them, contamination and invasive species threaten to destroy this precious resource.

Upper Huron, Lake Michigan, Erie and Ontario are undoubtedly the most valuable resource in the entire American continent, incomparably more valuable than oil, natural gas or coal. Together, they represent more than one-fifth of the world’s fresh water – 22.7 billion gallons – and 84% of all fresh water in North America.

Some 40 million Americans and Canadians live in this Great Basin. It is a water supply and one of the most popular ecotourism destinations. We fish there, transport goods there, cultivate their shores and work in cities that would not exist if there were no lakes. But unfortunately, we have also introduced invasive species.

Artificial fertilizers, which we use to grow corn that we feed the animals we eat and produce biofuels that we pour into our vehicles, have contributed to massive blooms of toxic algae in such quantities as can be seen from space. And with our continued greenhouse gas emissions, we’ve even managed to change the weather on most of the Great Lakes, which is why severe storms have become more frequent.

Recently, the government announced plans to recultivate the basin with a $1 billion investment that involves restoring and deep cleaning hotspots suffering from invasive species. Over the next eight years, the EPA will clean up 22 Areas of Concern sites, nine of which are in Michigan. More than 40 million people will have access to drinking water when the project is completed, and the renewable energy projects will create jobs for 1.3 million.

Devastating floods


A storm in 2016 caused power outages and low clear water levels in Michigan. As a result, towns on the shores of one of the largest freshwater lakes in the world have been without running water for hours.

Such devastating storms seem to be becoming a new, expensive and regular occurrence. Global warming has destabilized what is called the jet stream, a current of air that circulates at high altitude around the planet from west to east. As a result, the temperature differences between mid and upper latitudes that drive the jet stream are reduced, slowing down this massive torrent of air. And that affects seasonal weather patterns: storms are becoming more frequent and robust.

Some climate models predict that the number of extreme rainstorms around the world will double with each degree of global warming, likely already underway. Heavy spring showers in 2019 caused record water levels in lakes and flooding across the region.

Conclusion on Environmental Problems in Michigan

Can we even speak of benefits for society if, on the other hand, there are catastrophic consequences for nature? In such an alarming situation, it is necessary to see the importance of ecology as a prerequisite for maintaining a healthy life and not just another thing on Michigan’s political agenda. However, involving individuals and organizations alone is not enough to significantly change the situation.

Tough and sweeping state action is needed, along with changes in the laws, to address Michigan’s environmental problems and for the planet to survive. In the same way that air, water and land are linked in nature, the contaminants associated with them are linked. As everything circulates in nature, this problem must be seen globally. It is up to individuals, on the other hand, to report it and to solidarity to act to raise awareness in general, until the moment when we will not need any law for eco-responsible behavior.

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