To the Editor,
Many people are surprised to learn about the connection between Big Oil and plastic production and to learn that Ethane, one of the primary chemicals used to produce plastic, is a fracking byproduct. Refining and manufacturing plastic is a highly greenhouse gas intensive process, which generates single-use items which will likely be used for 15 minutes.
With natural gas prices low, and with renewable energy infrastructure growing, Big Oil sees the plastics industry as a lucrative back-up plan. If New York aspires to divorce itself from oil as reported in the article “NYS selects 2 green energy projects for massive NYC decarbonization plan” (Sept. 21, 2021), then we must first actualize our Plastic Bag Ban.
Presently, the ban continues to be ubiquitously ignored by every deli and bodega, small grocery store and food truck or stand. It doesn’t suffice to simply enact this ban, the Department of Environmental Conservation must follow through and begin fining these establishments for their failure to follow the rule. With more and more studies pointing towards the harmful effects of accumulative ingestion and inhalation of microplastics, we must begin to change our habitual over-reliance on plastic. Once these businesses start to follow the rule, the people will respond by bringing reusable bags to stores.
Alex Corbett is a nature educator at Wonderforest Nature Preschool in Brooklyn.