Mindaugas Gedgaudas | Who’s Polluting the Environment?

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The guest column, “5 Reasons to Ditch Single-use Plastic” by Lisa McDougald in the Dec. 26 issue of The Signal is well-written and advocates implementation of sensible steps to reduce pollution of our environment and especially of our oceans. 

That Ms. McDougald and others concerned about such pollution appear to talk in worldwide terms is also laudatory, but they should include in their discussions the fact that, specifically, the U.S. is responsible only for about 1.25% of all the plastics polluting our oceans, and should point the finger of blame to the overwhelmingly major polluters: China, being No. 1, followed by Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam. Sri Lanka, Egypt, Thailand, Malaysia, Nigeria, Bangladesh and other, minor polluters. Of the approximately 8 million tons of plastics being dumped in the oceans annually (2010 statistics) by all countries, the U.S. contributes only 0.11 million tons. 

Yes, that is significant and, yes, we ought to strive to reduce that amount, but until the gross polluters implement very meaningful controls, we here in America can stop all pollution but make no measurable dent in the amount of plastics ditched in the oceans. It is interesting to note, in passing, that the countries with the highest per-capita income contribute the least to environmental pollution. 

Mindaugas Gedgaudas

Newhall

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