Last month, a mysterious “green-ooze” was found spilling out of a concrete wall along I-696 in Madison Heights, about 10 miles from downtown Detroit. The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) reported that the ooze was in fact contaminated groundwater with hexavalent chromium, a by-product of the element chromium, which is known to cause cancer. It was reported that the source of the ooze was coming from a building on the road running parallel to the highway. The owner, Gary Sayers, is already in prison for pleading guilty to illegally storing hazardous material in 2017 from the same building. After countless EPA visits and attempts by EGLE, enough measures were not taken to send the precedent that polluting will get you in trouble. Instead, the culprit got away with enough damage before getting caught, and even then, matters were not addressed and the public will have to spend millions of dollars to clean it up when it could have been prevented sooner. EGLE officials expressed embarrassment that it had to come to ooze leaking out onto a major highway to get their attention on the severity of the problem.
In order to regain trust in the work EGLE does and advocate for the importance of environmental conservation, what ideas can you come up with that could show the work of EGLE is legitimate and answers a widespread problem that communities are all facing? For example, I am thinking of a project that tests the Air, Water, and Mold level/quality of every public school building in the state of Michigan. This article talks about an elementary school in Vicksburg on the westside of the state and how environmental experts shrugged off any concerns that the teachers and administration have in regards to the air quality. A statewide project/initiative to inspect environmental qualities in all schools could uncover challenges facing more districts than one and could be the evidence needed for state legislative action to occur down the line.