Monday, September 26, 2022

California to investigate fossil fuel companies over misleading plastic recycling myths

California’s attorney general on Thursday launched a broad investigation into the fossil fuel and petrochemical industry for its alleged role in the spread of massive plastic pollution, issued a subpoena to ExxonMobil and vowed to hold polluters responsible for any crimes .

Attorney General Rob Bonta said the investigation would focus on what he called a “half-century campaign of deceit” and that it would target companies that “caused and exacerbated the global plastic pollution crisis.” Plastic pollution has long been a tentative environmental issue, with conservationists calling the spread of plastic to the farthest corners of the Arctic, the geology of the planet, and the bodies of everything from sea birds’ stomachs to human lungs.

“Enough is enough,” Bonta said in a statement on Thursday. “For more than half a century, the plastics industry has engaged in an aggressive campaign to deceive the public, perpetuating a myth that recycling can solve the plastics crisis. The truth is that the vast majority of plastics are recycled. cannot be recycled.”

The Los Angeles Times notes that Bonta’s investigation comes as California lawmakers work to reduce plastic waste and ban certain types of single-use plastics. A proposed measure on the California ballot in November could give voters the chance to make all single-use plastic packaging reusable, refillable or compostable by 2030.

Exxon is the first company to receive a subpoena, but Reuters reported that other companies are likely to receive calls from Bonta’s office. The Hill reported that the attorney general told a news conference that he believed Exxon was a “major source of global plastic pollution” and that it had used deceptive practices for decades.

Despite the widespread belief that many plastics are recyclable, less than 9% of plastics in the US were recycled in 2018, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. The remaining 91% ends up in landfills, incinerated or airborne in the atmosphere.

A 2020 report by NPR and PBS’s “Frontline” found that the plastics industry knew recycling products would be “expensive” and “impossible” as early as the 1970s. But the industry spends millions of dollars a year touting the benefits of plastics and encouraging consumers to recycle them anyway.

Bonta said his office would target the industry’s effort to reduce public understanding of the “harmful consequences of these products,” based on “historic and ongoing attempts to defraud the public.”

“The plastics industry, which includes major fossil fuel and petrochemical companies, launched an aggressive – and misleading – marketing and advertising campaign to convince the public that they can find their way out of the plastic waste problem,” he said on Thursday. ” “However, executives at major fossil fuel companies knew the truth.”

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Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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