Letter to the Editor: Help save the planet now

Young people concerned about climate change and pollution are doing wonderful things: organizing, making posters, making speeches, etc. In the future, they will probably drive electric cars, use solar-electric, wind power, and other green technology. One thing that they can do right now is largely being overlooked. They can try to stop buying items made in polluting factories that are also shipped on polluting ships.

Chinese factories are historically known for creating large amounts of pollution. In fact, a 2017 study by the Chinese Ministry of Environmental Protection found that “nearly 14,000 companies, or 70 percent of the businesses they examined, failed to meet China’s own environmental standards for controlling air pollution”

Factories in western countries make pollution, but making Chinese steel creates “2.8 times as much pollution”, making Chinese cast iron is “4.1 times as polluting”, and making “polypropylene (plastic) generates “18.4 times as much CO2” as “clean western factories” Winds from China can carry this pollution to the west coast of the United States.

Can ships contribute to pollution? Yes! Most cargo ships burn cheap bunker oil out at sea. This fuel consists mostly of the leftovers from the crude oil refining process. It is very toxic, and it causes environmental damage. A 2009 study “found that it took only 16 bunker fuel burning ships to make as much pollution as all the combustion powered cars, trucks, buses and trains in the world combined.”

These ships are exempt from the 2015 Paris Climate Agreements when traveling in international waters just off the coast of the United States to bring Chinese goods to our markets.

You don’t have to be a science expert to realize that buying Made In China is not good for the environment. If you are old enough to buy things, and you are concerned about climate change, you are old enough to make informed decisions that help to protect the environment. Don’t be part of the problem; instead, become part of the solution. Reduce your purchases of Chinese products.

Dale Derrickson

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