A large and diverse coalition of over 550 organizations came together Tuesday to call on President-elect Joe Biden to tackle the plastic pollution crisis through executive actions that would collectively help turn the tide against consumer waste that is choking the planet's natural world and harming human health.
"More than 99% of plastic is created from chemicals sourced from fossil fuels, including an oversupply of fracked gas, which is spurring a global boom in new plastic production. That plastic is causing serious environmental problems at every step of its lifecycle," the groups point out, explaining the need for action.
In addition to the 10 steps previously proposed by advocacy organizations urging Biden to lead as a #ClimatePresident, the coalition behind the new call is pushing him to become the first #PlasticFreePresident by embracing their Presidential Plastics Action Plan.
"President-elect Biden can begin solving the plastic pollution crisis in his first days in office without any help from Congress," noted Julie Teel Simmonds, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity, a member of the #BreakFreeFromPlastic movement and a convening partner of the action plan.
"Implementing this historic plan would protect vulnerable frontline communities and marine life while addressing a key driver of climate change," she said. "It's time to rein in the fossil fuel industry's insidious plans to keep fracking for plastic and polluting poor communities here and around the world."
The plan urges the incoming Biden administration to:
- Use the purchasing power of the federal government to eliminate single-use plastic items and replace them with reusable products;
- Suspend and deny permits for new or expanded plastic production facilities, associated infrastructure projects, and exports;
- Make corporate polluters pay and reject false solutions;
- Advance environmental justice in petrochemical corridors;
- Update existing federal regulations using the best available science and technology to curtail pollution from plastic facilities;
- Stop subsidizing plastic producers;
- Join international efforts to address the global plastic pollution crisis through new and strengthened multilateral agreements; and
- Reduce and mitigate the impacts of abandoned, discarded and lost fishing gear.
Each broad recommendation comes with specific suggestions. As part of the effort to eliminate single-use plastic, the coalition proposes appointing a plastic pollution czar to coordinate reduction efforts across federal agencies and internationally. To make corporate polluters pay, the plan pressures Biden to throw his support behind the historic Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act unveiled in Congress earlier this year.
"Plastic production and pollution impact public health, the environment, and climate, and it has reached crisis levels around the world, with the United States as one of the biggest contributors," Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-Calif.) said Friday, explaining why he introduced the bill — with Rep. Katherine Clark (D-Mass.) as well as Sens. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) — and vowing to reintroduce it in the next congressional session.
Original story here.