The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Plastic:
Don’t be Fooled by the Polluters

Mar 18, 2019

The World Wildlife Federation released another report denouncing the industrial production of plastic and the pollution it creates.

According to the WWF, the world will produce 40% more plastic than it does now by 2030. Already, a large share of the 400 million tons of plastic produced each year pollutes the land and water, threatening many species of animals and whole ecosystems.

For instant, plastic waste floats on top of the ocean, in a veritable “continent of plastic.” Larger marine animals, like turtles or whales, often die from plastic blocking their airways or digestive systems. Even worse, micro-particles of plastic fall into the depths of the ocean. Fish and tiny shrimp eat these plastic particles, confusing them for plankton. Larger fish eat the smaller fish or shrimp – and when people eat fish, we eat the plastic too.

There have been lots of anti-plastic campaigns aimed at consumers, encouraging people not to use too much plastic, or to recycle it. But ordinary consumers don’t decide how much plastic to produce: those decisions are made by big corporations. They produce plastic to sell, to make a profit, and don’t worry about the consequences. They leave it to someone else to develop technologies and infrastructure for recycling – which is always way behind the production of pollution.

And as the former WWF president for France put it, whenever there is a campaign to put in place new rules against pollution, “the companies always say they need more time.”

The big polluters sometimes cynically start campaigns about the environment – but usually just to hide reality. For instance, Nestle announced it was going to start selling Nesquick in recyclable paper, instead of the yellow plastic bottle it used to use. They used this to market their product as the environmental choice, better than its competitors. This manipulation of children’s and parent’s reasonable fears for the future of the earth allowed Nestle to raise the price of their chocolate powder 300 percent!

By telling individuals that it’s up to us to save the environment, the big companies excuse what they do organizing the economy all over the world in an environmentally destructive way. They strike at our morale, by pretending its our fault that the earth is in danger, and that they have no responsibility for the organization of society. They pretend the population chooses what to produce and how to produce it.

In reality, the only way to overcome the enormous environmental problems we face is to take over the big polluting industries and reorganize production to meet the needs of the population, and safeguard the earth for the future.