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Letter to the Editor: May 12

May 12, 2021 By Joshua Pullar
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Dear Editor,

Last week the Green New Deal was reintroduced to Congress, a landmark step towards addressing the climate crisis that will undoubtedly affect every one of us if not addressed. While that resolution gets the lion’s share of attention, it has an equally important friend waiting in the wings.

The Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act would require corporations to take financial responsibility for their plastic waste, pause new permits for plastics manufacturing, incentivize recycling and composting, and more.

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Quite simply, we are producing too much plastic. Even the efforts to recycle plastics cause problems of their own, recyclers often find it’s cheaper to export undesirable plastics to countries such as the Philippines or Malaysia and count them as “recycled” that way. This causes a whole host of health and social problems for the local populations of those countries, and the U.S. is passing the environmental buck onto these countries.

The evidence of our plastic waste is plain to see, on the beaches, alongside the highways, and in the hedgerows of parks. One may be able to close their eyes and deny climate change, but plastic pollution cannot be ignored. I’m grateful to Senator Gillibrand for signing on as a co-sponsor in the Senate, and Rep. Hakeem Jeffries for signing on as a co-sponsor in the House, but disappointed that Senator Schumer has yet to co-sponsor this legislation and I implore them to rectify that ASAP.

I highly recommend your readers track down a recent NPR piece on plastic  It does a fantastic job of humanizing this issue on the U.S. end, and I think the humor could help many Americans connect with their own waste bin habits. I’d like to point you to some of my own work on this topic too. It hits many of the same beats, but this is undoubtedly an important story to tell. I’m sure you’ve seen the recent John Oliver episode on the topic too, it really is fantastic.

— Joshua Pullar

Joshua Pullar is a Video Producer & Editor on the NowThis show One Small Step, which focuses on sustainability and environmental solutions. He’s originally from London, and now lives in Brooklyn

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