An April 24 article on the plastic debris in remote Hawaii islands highlights the global plastic pollution crisis.

Plastic is killing wildlife, threatening our health and emitting dangerous greenhouse gases. Yet petrochemical companies continue to increase production at an alarming rate. Under 10% is recycled. Forty percent of plastics are single use packaging, bags, utensils, takeout containers and polystyrene.

Plastic doesn’t break down completely. The 9.2 billion tons of plastic ever made remain in our environment as nanoplastics, except for the small amount burned, emitting greenhouse gases.

Fossil fuels make 99% of plastics. The production chain produced nearly 1.8 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2015. Emissions will reach 17% of our global carbon budget by 2050.

Around 17.6 billion pounds enter oceans yearly, equal to a garbage truck dumped every minute. Studies indicate 1 pound of plastic for every 3 pounds of fish in the ocean by 2025.

Our air, soil, food and water all contain plastic. About 140 chemicals hazardous to human health are used in plastic products. The chemicals leach out from the plastic into the food we eat. They also bind with toxic chemicals that animals eat.

Research found we eat 5 grams a week. Diseases linked to ingestion are cancer, impaired immunity, diabetes, obesity, neurological damage, infertility and more. Human fetuses now contain plastic particles. Animals are going extinct from ingesting plastic which causes them to starve.

50 million tons of plastic could enter our environment in the next 10 years unless we stop production of single use plastic. Reuse, reduce, use compostable products instead of plastic.

The Action Network's plastic-free petition is available: actionnetwork.org/petitions/president-biden-be-a-plasticfreepresident.

Jane Dow

Mankato

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