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The externalities from plastic pollution result in severe health and environmental harm globally. Yet, the fossil fuel industry aims to increase the demand for plastic over the next decade. This is as the transition to green energy could decrease the demand for oil and gas. Low-income communities and communities of color living in and near petrochemical and extraction zones are at the frontline of the industry’s harmful effects.
In response to Alan Gelder’s, Wood Mckenzie’s Vice President of Refining, Chemicals and Oil Markets, statement downplaying the industries growth prospects, Greenpeace’s Plastic Free Future Campaigner Kaitlyn Trent said:
“We simply can’t continue to do what we have been doing and expect a different result. Plastic contaminates our food supply, damages human health, threatens biodiversity, and accelerates climate change. Yet, it is the “Plan B” for a dying fossil fuel industry. But we must remember there is no “Planet B.” We should not underestimate the drive of the fossil fuel industry for its self-preservation, even in the face of planetary destruction.
“We can’t allow the fossil fuel industry–through spokespersons such as Alan Gelder–to promote false information. They spread lies about how plastics are beneficial for the environment. In addition, they claim that living near petrochemical facilities is somehow preferable to living near fossil fuel production plants. We need to hold them accountable and ensure they complete their promises to do better for people and our planet.
Low-income communities and communities of color are on the frontlines of the plastic pollution crisis. Moreover, there’s an urgent need for transition. It has roots in justice for the workers that depend on the plastics economy. “This month (February) our country will celebrate Black History Month and certainly many corporations will be paying homage to those who fought for Black freedoms and honoring their contributions to America. However, today these corporations must do more than talk. Investing in solutions aimed at securing a livable future for these communities, including healing the historic injustices which have been inflicted upon them, is a start in turning their words to action.”
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