Welcome back to school - Essay Contest!
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Students, teachers and parents across our great state are gearing up for another school year. Cape Fear River Watch, our partners in the fight against Titan Cement, is harnessing the excitement around a new school year by launching a statewide essay contest for high school seniors. This contest is centered on educating and empowering our youth in the fight against Titan Cement and related issues like wetlands, water quality and public health. Submissions will be accepted from Oct 1, 2012 to Jan 15, 2013. The contest has a first place prize of $1,000 for use toward eligible higher education costs.
For official rules and to download the application, click here.
Many parents and teachers have spoken out against Titan Cement but since our children’s’ future is what we’re working so hard to protect, Stop Titan decided to ask our youth what they thought about this issue. Essay topics range from describing the economic benefits of wetlands to the importance of regulating point source pollution.
“As a parent, I’m against Titan for the known health effects that come from burning coal, but as an environmental educator, I understand this fight is about preserving our coastal and estuarine habitats for future generations,” says Cape Fear River Watch education specialist and mother of two, Kay Lynn Plummer Hernandez.
No amount of jobs is worth losing our health and our number one economic driver, our environment.
A few quick facts why parents should be concerned:
- Titan Cement plans to operate one of the largest, coal-burning cement plants in the nation within five miles of area schools attended by more than 8,500 students.
- More than 200 local physicians oppose Titan Cement because of the negative health impacts on our community, especially our children.
- The North Carolina Pediatrics Society has added their name to the growing list of organizations and community members concerned about Titan Cement.
- North Carolina recently made it illegal to smoke in public because of the known risks of second-hand smoke. The particulate matter coming from Titan’s smoke stack will be equivalent to burning 24.8 billion cigarettes a year—right next to our area schools, communities and businesses.
- Mercury is a known neurotoxin. When mercury is released from smokestacks, it settles in soils and nearby waterways, where it contaminates fish. Young children and pregnant women are warned against eating mercury-contaminated fish because of the severe neurological impacts. Titan will be the 3rd largest mercury emitter in New Hanover County—giving New Hanover County, the 2nd highest mercury emissions in North Carolina.
- Forty-one percent of U.S. tire burning is done in cement kilns. Burning scrap tires in cement kilns releases benzene and heavy metals and may also increase productions of dioxins. These toxins are associated with a wide range of serious health problems including reproductive impairment, developmental delay and cancer. Titan Cement has stated they may burn tires at their Castle Hayne facility—a site less than two miles from our newest elementary and middle schools.