California To Investigate ExxonMobil's Role In the Plastic Pollution Crisis

by Rudy Sanchez on 04/29/2022 | 2 Minute Read

Recycling has always been a bit of a scam, and the oceans continue to accumulate plastic detritus, floating for centuries while it breaks down into smaller pieces, eaten and absorbed by animals and eventually humans.

With over 800 miles of coastline, California, in particular, is impacted by the plastic pollution crisis, and the state's Attorney General, Rob Bonta, seeks to hold accountable companies he believes are responsible for it. 

Bonta’s office has recently announced that it has issued subpoenas to ExxonMobil as part of an investigation into the role it and other petrochemical firms have in polluting the planet with plastic. In a press release announcing the unprecedented move, the Attorney General’s office cited recent reporting by NPR and PBS Frontline that unearth internal documents written by industry insiders warning that recycling would be unviable commercially as the industry heavily promoted the practice to the public.

“In California and across the globe, we are seeing the catastrophic results of the fossil fuel industry’s decades-long campaign of deception,” Bonta said in a press release. “Plastic pollution is seeping into our waterways, poisoning our environment, and blighting our landscapes. Enough is enough. For more than half a century, the plastics industry has engaged in an aggressive campaign to deceive the public, perpetuating a myth that recycling can solve the plastics crisis.”

“The truth is: The vast majority of plastic cannot be recycled, and the recycling rate has never surpassed nine percent,” the attorney general added. “Every week, we consume the equivalent of a credit card’s worth of plastic through the water we drink, the food we eat, and the air we breathe. This first-of-its-kind investigation will examine the fossil fuel industry's role in creating and exacerbating the plastics pollution crisis— and what laws, if any, have been broken in the process.”

Bonta’s announcement follows last year’s signing into law of SB 343, which would require packaging to be commonly recyclable across California to present itself as “recyclable” or using symbols like the chasing arrows.

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