Liberty Littman/Contributing Writer
Imagine one day the Everglades Z-tree, an iconic curved dwarf Cypress tree, just collapsed after a couple hundred or thousand years. Imagine a possibility where floods are so prevalent that you can’t even drive the common car down the road that leads down the Everglades into Flamingo.
While researching the Everglades, as well as conversations with family and friends, I noticed a problem on our hands. The Everglades and Coastal Florida are facing numerous environmental disasters due to mismanagement and old canal systems.
A couple years ago, Tamiami Trail, also known as 8th st, was raised to accommodate changes to the levee and canals in the case of possible flooding. But seeing as the levee ends just short of a mile outside of the Everglades, it seems like lawmakers and the NPS (National Park Service) are not taking into consideration the amount of updated infrastructure needed in the park if they want to update the levee and canals.
I believe that in order to accommodate for the increasing levee, canal and Okeechobee Lake flooding, the Everglades might have to close most, if not all, of the park. This is because there is only one road in and out, plus it would aid in providing maintenance to the roads and build the underground flood wall. The researchers believe that it could take them many years to update which is a huge downside if the park closes.
Which brings me to my next issue: Underground flood wall. The Las Palmas neighborhood is just an example of what could happen if the South Florida levee is maintained without the consideration for the neighborhoods lining the levee. Las Palmas is a neighborhood just beyond the urban development boundary. Due to this, it is essentially in the Everglades and is notorious for flooding. I believe they should also create the flood wall along both coasts of Florida to prevent as much flooding as possible.
Surprisingly, Tampa Bay is being threatened with the worsening leak in Piney Point which could spew 480 million gallons of toxic waste water into neighboring cities. If I’m totally honest, it’s gotten so bad that I have no opinions or options on how to stop the barge from opening and spewing out polluted water.
But, Tampa Bay’s solution doesn’t work either as they imposed the option of extracting the polluted water and pouring it into the ocean therefore creating even more of a natural disaster. It absolutely terrifies me that this same thing could happen to Okeechobee and its surrounding areas. People in neighboring communities were issued a boil water warning before eventually making a mandatory evacuation. Researchers say that the amount of pollution in Piney Point could cause centuries of soil infertility and decay. There is already evidence of ocean pollution on the space coast and down in Homestead as well.
Though I went in with the intention of talking about bringing more guests into the park, I realized something 100 times more important. More ecological disasters include corporate agricultural industry, industrial plants weeping hazardous waste, or in Piney Place, a mixture of both. The corporate agricultural industry, especially big sugar, stepped their foot into Florida politics where legislation was then passed which essentially grants legal immunity to the companies from victims of polluted carcinogens spewed out during sugar bleaching. There is also massive pollution on the east side of Homestead. This is due to massive amounts of radioactive material being dumped in Beaches and Canals. I would go to that side of Homestead for walks during the pandemic and the canals would be bright green with pollution from Turkey Point.
These are just two more of the components fueling the ecological epidemic happening in the State of Florida that need to be addressed sooner or later. It’s up to us to try and convince lawmakers to take immediate action in avoiding the furthering of flooding and unlivable land.
The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of PantherNOW Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.
Photo by Barbara Fischer on Unsplash