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California attorney general subpoenas ExxonMobil, opens major investigation into plastic pollution

California Attorney General Rob Bonta on Thursday announced a major investigation into plastics manufacturing companies, the first in the nation to say they have been engaged in illegal business practices for 50 years saying that plastic products are deceptively recyclable, most are not.

Bonta said he had issued summonses against ExxonMobil to obtain the documents, with the possibility of continuing with other companies, adding that the growing problem of plastic pollution in society – especially in the oceans packed with trillions of plastic parts – should be legally held accountable. to the address.

“In California and around the world, we are seeing the catastrophic results of a decades-long fraud campaign in the fossil fuel industry,” Bonta said. “Plastic pollution is entering our waterways, poisoning our environment and ruining our landscapes. That’s enough.”

The company could be held responsible for California laws banning fraudulent claims, such as unfair business practices or environmental pollution, he added.

Many environmental health measures in the United States have been improving in recent decades, from smog levels to the spread of renewable energy. But plastic pollution is getting worse.

Half of the plastic that has ever been on earth has been made in the last 20 years. Only 9% of plastic sold in the United States is recycled each year, according to the US EPA. 13 million metric tons end up in the world’s oceans every year – tIt’s like throwing a garbage truck into the sea every minute – kills fish, birds, sea turtles, whales and dolphins that eat or become entangled in it.

Plastics last for hundreds of years. Doing so consumes large amounts of petroleum products, which contributes to climate change. And at the current rate, a final study By 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean by weight than fish, most of which have been broken into trillions of tiny toxic confetti.

Another one final examination They found that, on average, each person in the world swallows an average of 5 grams of microscopic plastic every week, the equivalent of a credit card, the water they drink, the food they eat — especially seafood — and the air they breathe.

It is unclear what impact it will have on human health.

The goodwill movement has been one of the failed efforts of environmentalists in the state legislature to force plastics companies to return materials or fund recycling programs at a much higher rate.

At a time of great anticipation for industry and environmental groups this year, a vote-backed measure by organizations such as the Monterey Bay Aquarium will be unveiled to California voters in November to urge businesses to take those steps.

If approved by a majority of voters, the measure would ban polystyrene or foam from food packaging, such as clams boxes for making food in stores, supermarkets and restaurants. Some cities already have a ban in place, but voting measures would be taken statewide. In addition, it would impose a penny fee on each item of plastic packaging, paid for by shipbuilders, and raise $ 1 billion or more each year to fund recycling efforts, beach cleanup and other pollution programs.

It would also require companies that make plastic packaging (fast food packaging, toy packaging and other products in cardboard boxes) to reduce the number of sales in California by 25% by 2030.

Practically speaking, this could mean that companies would have to fund “back” programs or fund recycling efforts. They would almost certainly have to leave some types of plastics that are difficult to recycle and generally use fewer containers.

The American Chemistry Council, a trade association that includes large companies such as Dow, DuPont, 3M and ExxonMobil Chemical, last year called the measure a “massive $ 1 billion taxpayer-funded gift” to fund several animal projects of special interest.

On Thursday, when Bontak plastic companies were asked about the fraudulent behavior, the organization did not address the issue directly. “Plastics belong to our economy, not our environment. American plastics manufacturers are committed to a sustainable future and have proposed comprehensive and bold action at the state, federal and international levels,” he said in a statement.

Among them, the American Chemistry Council said it supports a federal law that requires all plastic containers in the U.S. to include at least 30% of recycled plastic by 2030. Last year, Governor Gavin Newsom signed a law requiring 25% by 2025 in California and 50% by 2030.

Bonta, who was at a mid-morning press conference on Thursday with a bag of plastic trash cans recently pulled from the beach next to a beach in Los Angeles, cited recent news research, among other things. one by NPR and PBS Frontlineplastics companies knew in the 1970s that certain types of plastics were not economically viable for recycling, but they nevertheless made claims to avoid pollution laws.

“It was all big little,” Bonta said. “The big oil executives, they knew the truth. It is true that most plastics cannot be recycled. In fact, the recycling rate has never exceeded 9%. In fact, the majority of plastic products made by design cannot be recycled and 91% end up in landfills, incinerated or dumped in the environment.

California attorney general subpoenas ExxonMobil, opens major investigation into plastic pollution Source link California attorney general subpoenas ExxonMobil, opens major investigation into plastic pollution

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