Target: Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy
Goal: Ban the use of non-biodegradable plastics for all products in the United States.
Non-biodegradable plastics pose very real threats to the environment and to public health. These petroleum-based products contain toxins that kill wildlife, leach into our water supplies, and are released into the air we breathe. Chemicals such as Bisphenol A, which is used in the form of a resin for most petroleum plastics, have been found to be carcinogenic. Moreover, recent necropsies performed on various marine life have determined that close to a third of them had died after ingesting garbage that was mistaken for food. The overwhelming majority of this garbage, as evidenced by The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, consists of plastics. The Environmental Protection Agency must step up and ban the use of non-biodegradable plastics for all products in the United States.
The spread of toxic chemicals from non-biodegradable plastics is killing animals all over the globe. A recent study found that among the 1.5 million Laysan albatrosses that inhabit the Pacific island of Midway, nearly a third of their chicks will die from ingesting plastic debris fed to them by their parents. In the ocean itself, these non-biodegradable plastics are being photodegraded instead into smaller and smaller pieces which are eventually consumed by zooplankton. Through these zooplankton, toxic chemicals from petroleum-based plastics then make their way up the food chain.
Studies have also found that these floating, microscopic plastic particles can absorb organic pollutants from the seawater itself, thus trapping these pollutants in the food chain instead of allowing them to be expelled as they would be naturally. Such pollutants, like DDT and various PCBs, can disrupt hormone functioning in marine life. Eventually, these numerous toxins will enter human bodies in the form of seafood dishes. They can also threaten human life by entering our water supplies and the air around us. Consistent exposure to sunlight causes a process called outgassing, in which these various toxins are expelled into the air. If these plastics are located near local water supplies, these toxins can also make their way into surrounding soil and water.
There are alternatives to using non-biodegradable plastics. Though some biodegradable alternatives like corn-based plastics have been found to produce hefty doses of methane as they degrade, there are other options. Hemp-based products, for example, actually trap dangerous greenhouse gases in their cells as they are cultivated. Whatever the solution may be, we certainly cannot continue using non-biodegradable plastics. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy needs to ban the use of non-biodegradable plastics for all products in the United States.
Dear Administrator McCarthy,
Non-biodegradable plastics are harming the environment and public health. The havoc these products wreak on wildlife eventually makes its way up the food chain to humans as well. Moreover, the toxins that harm animals are also being released into our water supplies and into the air we breathe. It’s time we ban non-biodegradable plastics to protect animals and to protect ourselves.
There are real alternatives to non-biodegradable plastics. The excuse offered by many companies, that these alternatives are too expensive, does not hold up. Putting profit over the environment and public health should not be acceptable any longer.
We need to change the way we think about industry when it comes to the environment and public health. For too long, we have allowed corporate gains to outweigh these very real concerns. I urge you to step up for environmental safety and public health by banning the use of non-biodegradable plastics for all products in the United States.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Daily Mail UK