President-elect Joe Biden’s win must mean that the United States joins the rest of the world in confronting the issue of plastic pollution in a serious way. It is time to fight for a binding global treaty that reduces global plastic production and enacts strong legislation in the U.S. to tackle the issue. The plastic pollution crisis has worsened under President Donald Trump. The current administration has put industry before the well being of our oceans, communities and health.
Recent research revealed that the United States generates more plastic waste than any other country on earth and that a large amount of it ends up in the environment. Plastic production has grown 26 percent from 2010 to 2016, and the pollution crisis has become worse due to the pandemic. The same fossil fuel companies that have destroyed our climate realize the oil age is coming to an end and hope to salvage their future through the expanded production of plastics.
Black and Brown communities already suffering at higher rates from COVID-19 also disproportionately face health impacts from increasing plastic production and disposal. Many communities of color live on the front lines of refineries — next to incinerators or in highly polluted regions that serve as the world’s dumping grounds. Yet Trump and other government officials have continued to regurgitate industry talking points around the need for better recycling efforts to solve this problem. This is the same guilt trip corporations have placed on their customers since the 1970s when they