HOUSTON, Texas (May 14, 2018) — To show the negative impacts of plastics production throughout its supply chain, two grassroots women activists impacted by plastic end-use waste in India and the Philippines today started an unprecedented tour of U.S. communities harmed at the start of the supply chain where plastic feedstocks are created and the oil and gas it requires are extracted.
Organized by #breakfreefromplastic member organization Earthworks, the “Stopping Plastic Where It Starts” speaking tour features Lakshmi Narayan from Pune, India and Myrna Dominguez from Manila, Philippines. They will visit communities fighting petrochemical production in Texas, Louisiana, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Washington D.C from May 14-25, 2018.
Myrna Dominguez, a food sovereignty activist from the Philippines said, “I’m here visiting communities in the U.S. threatened by plastics production in order to bring voices from our coastal communities halfway around the world that are harmed by plastics too. Plastic trash pollutes our waters and destroys fish sanctuaries, harming our fisherfolk whose livelihoods depend upon clean water and healthy seabed.”
Lakshmi Narayan, a representative of waste pickers in India added, “Waste pickers, who make a living dealing with with plastic waste every day, would support the fight against increasing production of plastics, especially single-use plastics which have little or no economic value. The environment is already suffocating from the pollution wrought by too much disposable plastic packaging, and waste pickers who are efficient in recovering materials, know that recycling alone will not solve this problem!”
A recent report by the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) reveals that “99% of plastics are produced from chemicals sourced from fossil fuels”. U.S. plastics production is located in regions near fossil fuel extraction especially in the Gulf Coast, and Appalachia where communities are fighting proposed expansion of the extraction and infrastructure necessary to ramp up plastics production for export.
Jennifer Krill, executive director of the nonprofit Earthworks which works to protect communities harmed by resource extraction, said, “Plastic pollution begins with the climate and community health impacts from fracking and petrochemical manufacturing. The U.S. is the largest producer in the world of oil and gas, thanks to fracking, and now, the industry wants us to be the world’s supplier of plastic. On this tour, U.S. grassroots community leaders threatened by oil and gas are joining their voices with communities around the world fighting to break free from plastic.”
Priscilla Villa, the Houston, Texas-based organizer for Earthworks added, “Here in Houston, along the Gulf Coast, and in Appalachia, we are facing an unprecedented boom in plastic production fed by fracking, that will put even more vulnerable communities in harm’s way.”
Follow Lakshmi and Myrna as they visit communities in Texas, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, West Virginia, and Washington D.C. Updates will be posted @earthworks and in the #breakfreefromplastic social media accounts: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. //ends