Climate warning

Elon Musk

Climate warning

The environmental damage of the SpaceX rocket launch

Last Thursday, SpaceX’s giant new rocket lifted off kicking up huge plumes of sand and dust around its launch pad. In Port Isabel, about six kilometres away, particles covered cars and other surfaces. One local business suffered a shattered window. The rocket reached a maximum speed of about 2,100 kph before going sideways and dropping, and finally exploding at a height of only 39 kms from earth.
Images posted on social media show cars and benches in south Texas covered in what people were calling “rocket dust” and “concrete rain”. Close to the launch site, videos show large pieces of debris hurtling through the air. On Thursday, the city of Port Isabel confirmed that “the dust that fell this morning in Port Isabel was sand and soil from near the SpaceX launch site that was lofted (sic) into the air by the force of lift off.” The county judge ordered Boca Chica Beach - where the rocket was launched from - and a nearby highway to be temporarily closed on Thursday and Friday “due to anomaly clean-up efforts”.
The impact of SpaceX’s operations in Boca Chica were already controversial and despite some experts warning that the project’s scope had changed significantly since its 2014 Environmental Impact Statement, a new EIS was not deemed necessary, and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) stated that the rocket would have “no significant impact” on people living in the area. This despite experts warning that the permitting process for SpaceX’s Starship launch was rushed and based on a smaller design than that was eventually used. As a result, the “damage to the community and the environment predicted are certainly understated, inadequate, and inaccurate,” environmental engineer Eric Roesch predicted on his ESG Hound blog ahead of the launch.
Various citizens also raised concerns with the FAA about the rocket launch’s impact on wildlife, arguing that the SpaceX site is surrounded by state and federally protected lands, including delicate ecosystems and wildlife refuges. Boca Chica is home to vulnerable species; in spring Boca Chica beach welcomes nesting Kemp’s ridley sea turtles and is home to endangered ocelot wild cats. It is also a critical and sensitive bird habitat that shelters many endangered species.
Analysis by Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries Program, which supports sustainable development in the area, showed that some rare bird population decreased by 54 % between 2018 - when SpaceX started launching rockets in the area - and 2021. On Saturday, biologists were still being refused access to the site, preventing them from assessing the latest damage.
Texan non-profit Friends of the Wildlife Corridor also noted that SpaceX has caused two fires, so far. The first burned 60 hectares, while the second was about 4.5 hectares and damaged sensitive dunes. They say that retrieval of debris in the areas surrounding rocket launches involves heavy equipment that scars the land. The site has also increased traffic and road closures in the area.

Do you agree?

11 more agrees trigger contact with the recipient

  • Peter Kamau

    6 w

    Elon Musk's space exploration projects should reevaluate its environmental impacts and address them accordingly

    • walter lungayi

      5 w

      @peter_kamau i agree with you

    • Tabitha Kimani

      6 w

      The ECOCIDE law should come into practice urgently to deal with such perpetrators.

      • Daniel Waweru

        6 w

        Total negligence and irresponsibility of the highest order

        • Saustine Lusanzu

          6 w

          EcosideLaw is all we need so as to take everyone engaging in destroying the environment to the court

          • Daniel Waweru

            6 w

            @saustine_lusanzu i agree we really need this law in Kenya

          • Edwin wangombe

            6 w

            @Elon Musk should put the planet's interest first

            • Lucinda Ramsay

              6 w

              Thank you Jacqueline for raising this! Everytime I see a rocket launch I think about the environmental impact!

              • Elizabeth Gathigia

                6 w


                • Munene Mugambi

                  6 w

                  This is very sad. We should be protecting ecosystems, not ruining them

                  • Phoebe Muthoni

                    6 w

                    Total negligence on part of the authorities. The citizens should be compensated and the damage to the environment too.

                    • Joseph Githinji

                      6 w

                      Bad for our climate

                      • Gorffly mokua

                        6 w

                        The biggest worry about this is ozone depletion, which can heat the Earth as well as damaging the ozone!!

                        Welcome, let's solve the climate crisis together
                        Post youtube preview with preloading
                        youtube overlay

                        Write or agree to climate reviews to make businesses and world leaders act. It’s easy and it works.

                        Write a climate review

                        Voice your opinion on how businesses and organizations impact the climate.

                        Open for Climate Dialogue™

                        Certified accounts actively looking for your opinion on their climate impact.

                        126.4k trees planted

                        One tree is planted for every climate review written to an organization that is Open for Climate Dialogue™.

                        Download the app

                        We plant a tree for every new user.