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The Plastic Storm At Our Door
Report Finds Plastics Will Soon Exceed Coal When It Comes To Planetary Destruction
Last year, we saw this study from Beyond Plastics, suggesting that plastics will release more greenhouse gas emissions than coal plants in the U.S. by 2030. Whoa!
We had already written about plastic pollution and water bottles and didn’t want to inundate you with more bad news, but hey, these are the times we live in. We have to be willing to look at the bad stuff and hopefully create some good for future generations.
Another recent study published this month in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, says it even louder: the chemical pollution storm brewing on our planet now threatens the stability of global ecosystems.
Plastics are a big part of that mess, along with thousands of synthetic chemicals including pesticides and industrial compounds.
We can certainly add PFAS to the list!
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“There has been a fiftyfold increase in the production of chemicals since 1950 and this is projected to triple again by 2050,” said Patricia Villarrubia-Gómez, a PhD candidate and research assistant at the Stockholm Resilience Centre (SRC) who was part of the study team. “The pace that societies are producing and releasing new chemicals into the environment is not consistent with staying within a safe operating space for humanity.”
So here we are with unsafe levels of toxins polluting our environment. It’s not just fringe folks talking about it; we’ve got scientists with the data sounding the alarm on pollution threatening the future of life on Earth.
“What’s quietly been happening under the radar is the petrochemical industry — the fossil fuel industry — has been ramping up investment in the production of plastics,” said Judith Enck, president of Beyond Plastics and a former regional administrator of the U.S. EPA. “Unless you live in the communities where this is taking place, people just don’t know this.”
One of the key findings in the Beyond Plastics report, was that the plastics industry releases about 90 percent of its reported climate pollution from plants near low-income communities in areas like Texas, Louisiana, and parts of Appalachia.
As the U.S. Senate continues to wobble in its support for a bill to lower emissions and tackle climate action, we also have to consider issues not even on the table yet, like regulating the plastic industry.
At least 42 plastics facilities have opened since 2019, are under construction, or are in the permitting process. If they become fully operational, these new plastics plants could release an additional 55 million tons of greenhouse gases—the equivalent of another 27 average-sized coal plants.
Now, I know the question for most of you is: what can we do? How can we help?
First, share this information with your network. Get people talking! Can your community look at its plastic consumption by adding this agenda to your city council meeting?
I know many communities rely on bottled water, so it’s not an easy fix, but if you are able to purchase a water filter or work with your municipal water system, it will make a difference in plastic pollution.
Here’s a list of more actions you can take, whether you have a few minutes or want to spend many hours on this topic.
A new documentary about the water on Long Island is coming. You can learn about the radium, radon, and other toxins that exist within the groundwater and the aquifer that supplies the drinking water for all of Long Island.
For more info, check out their website: hotwateronlongisland.com
Historic Funding For The Everglades
The Army Corps announced it will invest $1.1 billion to restore, protect, and preserve the South Florida ecosystem and increase its resilience.
“The Administration is making the largest single investment in the Everglades in U.S. history,” the White House said in a statement. “The iconic American landscape provides drinking water supply for over 8 million Floridians, supports the state’s $90 billion tourism economy, and is home to dozens of endangered or threatened species.”
U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston, co-chair of the House Everglades Caucus said about the funding, “The Everglades is the lifeblood of South Florida, and this historic funding will ensure we can much more aggressively move to restore and protect the natural sheet flow of water that is the largest environmental restoration project in American history.”