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Plastic Recycling April 23, 2024 02:50:48 PM

Western North Carolina Coalition Calls for Action on Single-Use Plastic Pollution

Paul Ploumis
ScrapMonster Author
Several studies have also linked microplastics to adverse health outcomes for humans.

Western North Carolina Coalition Calls for Action on Single-Use Plastic Pollution

SEATTLE (Scrap Monster):  Seven months after a provision added to the 2023-24 North Carolina state budget prohibited municipalities from establishing single-use plastic bag ordinances, a group of Western North Carolina environmental advocates is pushing back.

On Earth Day, against the scenic backdrop of a clear blue sky and the majestic French Broad River, nearly 60 people gathered at Silverline Park in Woodfin, north of Asheville, for an event they called the Planet vs. Plastics: Earth Day Press Conference. Among those present were the French Broad Riverkeeper, local mayors, state policymakers and members of environmental organizations, including the Sierra Club and the National Resources Defense Council. 

The event was organized by MountainTrue, a local environmental advocacy group, to discuss a renewed commitment by local municipalities to “phase out plastic bags, single-use plastics and Styrofoam” by partnering with businesses and residents and “to reduce their plastic footprint,” according to a release.

“We’re not here to wage war on all plastics but to reduce the kind of hard-to-recycle plastics that are used once and then thrown away,” said Karim Olaechea, MountainTrue’s deputy director of strategy and communications. “These single-use plastics clog up our rivers — like the beautiful French Broad. But we can reduce that pollution by passing common sense laws.”

Not only does plastic waste collect in waterways, landfills, parks and trees, over time, plastic waste breaks down into tiny micro- and nanoplastic particles and can starve and suffocate land and marine animals when digested. 

Several studies have also linked microplastics to adverse health outcomes for humans.

A 2019 study commissioned by the World Wildlife Fund found that humans digest roughly 5 grams, or a credit-card size amount, of microplastics weekly. Another study found that people with inflammatory bowel disease  had a higher quantity of microplastic particles in their feces than healthy people. (Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are two forms of IBD.) Microplastics have been linked to hormone disruption and cancer. Recently, researchers reported  possible links between microplastic accumulation in humans and heart disease.

What’s more, humans ingest between 78,000 and 211,000 microplastics annually from a range of sources such as food, water, skincare products and the air we breathe, according to information published by the EarthDay.org website.

Courtesy: www.northcarolinahealthnews.org

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