The organization that leads the Earth Day celebration, the Earth Day Network is supporting a global effort to eliminate single use plastics and to push for strong regulation for the disposal of plastics. On April 22nd, we’re joining with a global network of NGOs, grassroots organizations, campus youth, mayors and other local elected leaders, faith leaders, artists and athletes, and students and teachers in calling for an end to plastic pollution.
“From poisoning and injuring marine life to the ubiquitous presence of plastics in our food to disrupting human hormones and causing major life-threatening diseases and early puberty, the exponential growth of plastics is threatening our planet’s survival.” ~ Earth Day Network
Plastics, Plastics Everywhere! But What’s It Got To Do With Clean Air?
Our love of plastic creates several health and environmental problems. Toxic additives can leach from plastic food and beverage containers. Plastic doesn’t biodegrade. Animals can ingest it, with sometimes fatal consequences. And there is a toxic soup of plastic swirling around our oceans.
But did you know that the life cycle of plastic contributes to air pollution, both indoor and out? And that reducing our plastic consumption will help to protect the air we breathe? Here’s how:
- Most plastic is made from fossil fuels, which release toxic emissions when extracted from the earth.
- Plastic manufacturing plants pollute communities and harms workers.
- Plastics contain additives that can off-gas and contaminate the air in our homes.
- Plastics release hazardous emissions when burned.
- Plastic recycling creates air pollution.
What can we do?
We need a two-step approach. We can join and support groups that are pressuring our elected officials to step up and defend the Clean Air Act and support America’s Clean Power Plan from energy and chemical industry groups that profit from less regulations. And we must not let the Trump administration’s EPA continue it’s attack on weakening our health protections.
We can also take responsibility for our own choices by voting with our dollars and reducing our consumption of plastic products and packaging.
Here are 7 ways to get the plastic out of your life:
- Refuse plastic shopping bags.
- Drink from the tap and carry a reusable water bottle.
- Skip the plastic produce/bulk bags.
- Carry reusable food containers and utensils.
- Ban products with microbeads.
- Say no to plastic straws.
- Support companies committed to cleaning up plastic.
Photo via Earth Day Network