Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act  2021

Most likely you have all seen pictures of islands of plastic that are floating in the oceans and pictures of plastic litter and other garbage which has been dumped on the shores of third world nations.  It is dumped there because our own first-world country thought we could ship it to China for recycling, which we did for a while until China found itself swamped with trash and refused to take any more.  So now it is being shipped to poorer countries and third world nations whose beaches are absolutely covered with trash, much of it plastic.

Nobody knows what to do with it.

Plastic continues to be produced and used in packaging of all sorts and then it is discarded.  To where?  We are fond of saying we “Throw it away.” However, when you think about It, there is no such thing as “away”.  So it ends up in the ocean where fish and shellfish consume it, thinking it is food.  That is not good for them or for us since it gets into the food chain.  When we eat seafood we are eating microscopic pieces of plastic.  As a matter of fact, scientists tell us they are finding microscopic plastics in the human body and the human placenta. Microplastics carry with them substances that act as endocrine disruptors and could cause long-term effects on human health.  (You can Google this and read the literature for yourself.)

We are reducing our dependence on fossil fuels.

That makes the big oil companies anxious.  They see the writing on the wall and are troubled.  They want to recover the investments they made in drilling oil wells, and so they are switching the focus to chemical companies that they also own. Since fossil fuels are the base for plastic production, the business plan is to go even bigger into plastic production.  I think you can see where this is all going, right?

Plastic has its uses.

It is used in the medical world for tubing and protective wear and is used in orthopedic surgery for joint replacement.  The issue, however, is that it is now used to such a large degree in all sorts of things that we have a major problem.  Plastic is everywhere.  It is in the oceans affecting water quality and sea creatures. It is also now into our soil and air. Every day we are breathing in micro pieces of plastic.  Much scientific investigation and writing have been done on this and likely you have read about it yourself.

What in the world are we to do about this?

Where do we even start to stem the tide of this problem?  It would be easy to become discouraged and even despondent over all of this.  However, many people have been thinking and working on the problem and the good news is that there is now a way forward.

There is now a newly introduced bill into congress.

The bill has growing support and its name is the “Break Free from Plastic Pollution Act 2021.” It covers a lot of areas and it will be a strong corrective to the runaway plastic pollution that we are now experiencing.  One of the big things that it seeks to do is to shift more responsibility to manufacturers rather than simply dump the problem onto consumers.  It seeks to deal with the problem at its origin “upstream” rather than to try to deal with it “downstream”.

At this point, there is much that cannot be or is not, recycled.

It ends up as trash in our country and around the world.  Just because you see a recycling symbol on items does not mean that they actually get recycled.  The composition of various plastics makes them very difficult or impossible to recycle or not cost-effective to recycle.    The incineration of plastic is not a sustainable solution.  Burning plastics sends toxic fumes into the air which we then breathe.

In short, we need a new way of proceeding.

The new way forward is what the “Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act 2021” seeks to do. To learn more I would suggest that you Google,   “Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act 2021.”

 

Contact your leaders in congress and share your thoughts.

This is an opportunity to turn things around and move in the direction of Earth Care.  We have a duty to make our views known as citizens and as people of faith. Contact your leaders in congress.  They need to hear your thoughts, be they pro or con.  Democracy is not a spectator sport. Neither is Christianity a spectator sport.  We either use them or lose them.

Is this a perfect bill?

Probably not.  But is a place to start and any failure to act will have disastrous consequences.  Neither you nor I am the whole solution, however, we must act to be a part of the solution and not simply an ongoing part of the problem.

I think St. James had it right when he said, “Faith without works is dead.”

 

About Rev. Larry Deyss, HR

Larry Deyss is Pastor Emeritus of the Delmar Presbyterian Church where he served for 30 years, a past moderator of Albany Presbytery and currently a member of the Peacemaking Task Force with a focus on environmental issues. He and his wife live in Delmar.

The purpose of the Albany Presbytery Blog is to share information, tell stories, and promote the mission and ministry of the presbytery, synod and beyond. While the breadth of this medium is intentionally broad, it is not a platform for opinion pieces related to business coming before the presbytery unless designed as part of an initiative to provide a diversity of viewpoints at the direction of the presbytery. Exceptions to this policy may be brought to the presbytery officers who will determine appropriateness of submissions.