Detroit’s need to address pollution, heat waves and flooding

Detroit and southeast Michigan need to plant more trees and develop more resilient public infrastructure to reduce hot zones and flooding, according to two local environmental journalists.

Rising temperatures, major storms and the continued pollution of our water and air means troubling new problems for old, industrial cities. This is especially true in Detroit — where streets flood after even light rains, sewage is often backed up and more pockets of the city are becoming lethally hot for residents when temperatures climb above 90 degrees.

The City of Detroit is trying to adapt in a number of ways, including proposed plans to build more resilient infrastructure to prevent flooding and planting more trees to more quickly cool neighborhoods.

“43% of Detroiters had experienced flooding, but in a neighborhood like Warrendale, 64% of residents’ (homes) had flooded in the last year.” — Brian Allnut, editor of Planet Detroit.

Listen: Two journalists explain how Detroit can address the impacts of climate change.



Nina Ignaczak is the founder, publisher and editor of Planet Detroit. She says the city needs to plant more trees in order to prevent a heat-island effect, which more easily occurs in areas of the city that doesn’t have many trees.

“On average,” says Ignaczak, “Detroit has a tree equity score of 80, which is better than Cleveland and St. Louis, but worse than Chicago and New York.”

Brian Allnutt is a freelance writer and contributing editor for Planet Detroit. He says the east side of Detroit have been hit particularly hard by flooding.

“A previous study from Wayne State and the University of Michigan — and it came out a little bit ago – found that about 43 percent of Detroiters had experienced flooding,” says Allnutt, “but in a neighborhood like Warrendale, 64 percent of residents’ (homes) had flooded in the last year.”

For Detroit residents seeking assistance with flooding, you can find help at this link:

For Detroit residents interested in requesting a tree, you can fill out this form:

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