Just last month, scientists labeled the United States as the country generating the most plastic waste worldwide. The world is desperately seeking U.S. involvement in not only solving the glut of plastic soda bottles, bags, and straws polluting our air, soil, and water, but also the plastic face shields, takeout containers, and bubble wrap that have proliferated with the pandemic. Yet over the past four years, the Trump administration’s most notable action has been to sign the industry-supported Save Our Seas Act, which some 40 environmental organizations opposed.
Fortunately, Biden’s presidency provides a much-needed opportunity for the U.S. to re-engage with the international community on the climate crisis in general, and on the urgent matter of plastics in particular.
Plastic’s durability has lent it widespread use, but that’s what also allows it to persist in the environment. As a result, microplastics — small plastic particles — are infiltrating everything from ice cores in the Antarctic to the salt on your table. And the fossil fuel industry has pivoted to plastics amid fears that global demand for fossil fuels will continue to decrease.
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