Every year, 8 million tons of plastic pollution escapes into the world’s oceans, and the United States alone burns or buries 32 million tons of plastic in landfills. Nearly every piece of plastic begins as a fossil fuel and greenhouse gases are emitted at nearly every stage of the plastic lifecycle. This cost of plastic pollution to human health is enormous, especially in Black, Brown, Indigenous, and low-income communities where the majority of plastic-making facilities and plastic-burning incinerators are located.
John Hocevar, our Oceans Campaigns Director, explains the impact of plastic pollution in the Anacostia River, near his home in Washington, D.C., and how recycling is a false solution to combating the plastic crisis.
The Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act of 2021 is a comprehensive legislation that tackles the plastic pollution crisis by:
– Shifting responsibility for waste management and recycling to manufacturers and producers
– Setting up a national beverage container refund program
– Establishing minimum recycled content standards
– Phasing out certain single-use plastic products that aren’t recyclable
– Prohibit plastic waste from being exported to developing countries
– Placing a moratorium on new and expanding plastic facilities until the Environmental Protection Agency updates and creates vital environmental and health regulations on those facilities.
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