Cancer Alley

I recently watched a bike tour on YouTube

where the hosts traveled along the Mississippi River

from New Orleans to the Kenner area

once in Kenner

they spoke on an area referred to as ‘cancer alley’

a stretch of land along the Mississippi River

where multiple petrochemical plants operate

it encompasses portions of three different parishes

St. Charles, St. James, and St. John the Baptist

the residents of this area are 

predominantly poor and black

since the 1970’s numerous diagnoses 

of cancer and sickness have been reported

hence the moniker ‘cancer alley’

residents in the affected areas have a

16% greater risk at developing cancer

than the surrounding whiter and higher-income

one area in St. John the Baptist Parish

has been recognized by the EPA as having 

the likelihood of getting cancer from 

air pollution over 700 times the national average

it has been labeled a ‘sacrifice zone’

a term taken from the cold-war era

it is disgusting the blatant environmental racism 

occurring in plain site without any repercussion

the earth has thrived for

approximately 4.5 billion years

then enter the Industrial Revolution 

reprehensible damage with no reversal in site

burning of fossil fuels

carbon emissions from car exhausts

methane and nitrous oxide emissions from agriculture 

deforestation and urbanization

also the sickening lack of

compassion for our own people

all point to the actual problem at hand

we as humans 

are the terminal cancer of earth