Humanity is just beginning to wake up to the real story behind plastic pollution.
By Katie Allen
For decades, we have been distracted by anti-litter campaigns, greenwashed corporate promises, and the lure of recycling. Not only have we been lied to, but we’ve been blamed. Big corporations say consumers need to change their relationship with plastics. They tell us to recycle more and litter less, even in instances where recycling programs don’t exist, and even in instances where their packaging isn’t valuable enough for any recycler to want.
Recently, the truth behind this consumer gaslighting has made its way into mainstream media – even being highlighted on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (3/21/21 episode). After all these years, it is now blatantly obvious that we’ve been duped, so what’s next?
Luckily, organizations like Algalita have been working to expose the truth behind plastic pollution for decades and we’ve been patiently waiting for this moment in time. The plastic pollution crisis has become so bad that the general public is beginning to awaken to its absurdity. Now is our time to garner the political power necessary to combat big plastic – and we have a plan.
Last month, the first ever national legislation to address various aspects of the plastic pollution crisis was relaunched. Introduced by Sen. Jeff Merkley (OR) and Algalita’s very own district representative, Alan Lowenthal (CA), the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act builds on statewide laws across the country and outlines plastic reduction strategies, which include strategies to:
- Shift the financial burden of waste management and recycling off municipalities and taxpayers to where it belongs: the companies producing these products;
- Require a compressive analysis of the scale of fishing gear losses by domestic and foreign fisheries, including an evaluation of the ecological, human health, and maritime safety impacts of derelict fishing gear, and recommendations on management measures;
- Spur massive investments in domestic recycling and composting infrastructure;
- Phase out certain single-use plastic products that aren’t recyclable;
- Establish minimum recycled content standards;
- Launch a national beverage container refund program to bolster recycling rates;
- Place a temporary pause on new and expanding plastic facilities until the Environmental Protection Agency updates and creates vital environmental and health regulations to protect frontline and fenceline communities;
- Prohibit plastic waste from being exported to developing countries;
To support the launch of a bill to address plastic pollution, our team at Algalita organized a banner cruise aboard the very same research vessel that helped us to spark the Great Plastics Awakening. The historic ORV Alguita, a ship that has traveled the world sampling microplastics from our ocean, now is adorned with vibrant messaging in support of political action. For the first time, I believe we really have a chance to not only inspire, but require, real change.
We need all hands-on deck, visit algalita.org to learn how you can support The Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act today.
Katie Allen is Executive Director of Algalita.
We hope you appreciated this article. Before you move on, please consider supporting the Colorado Boulevard’s journalism.
Billionaires, hedge fund owners and local imposters have a powerful hold on the information that reaches the public. Colorado Boulevard stands to serve the public interest – not profit motives.
While fairness guides everything we do, we know there is a right and a wrong position in the fight against racism and climate crisis while supporting reproductive rights and social justice. We provide a fresh perspective on local politics – one so often missing from so-called ‘local’ journalism.
You can access Colorado Boulevard’s paywall-free journalism because of our unique reader-supported model. People like you, informed readers, keep us independent, beholden to no outside influence, and accessible to everyone.
Please consider supporting Colorado Boulevard today. Thank you. (Click to Support)