The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

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

Global Pollution and Government Inaction

Jun 12, 2023

The following are excerpts from an article translated from the June 9 issue #2862 of Lutte Ouvrière (Workers’ Struggle), the newspaper of the revolutionary workers group of that name active in France.

An international conference on global plastic pollution was held in Paris in early June. Delegations from 175 countries participated, along with 1,500 scientists and representatives of organizations and companies.

There is cause for concern. Plastic waste in different states of decomposition accumulates from oceans to mountaintops. Decomposition produces many chemicals, of which 3,200 are considered extremely dangerous for human and animal health. These include plasticizers (phthalates), bisphenols, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and other per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) known as “forever chemicals.” They have biological effects which can cause cancers, disruptions of the endocrine system, premature births, infertility, obesity, cardiovascular diseases, and so on ….

… Current negotiations on limiting plastics are scheduled to wind up by the end of next year at the earliest. The main obstacle to any reduction is market forces, meaning capitalist interests. The capitalists give no government the right to impose any limits on them.

Global production of plastics doubled between 2000 and 2020. It could triple again by 2060. Around eight billion tons of plastic waste has accumulated, enough to coat all the land on earth with a fifth of an inch of trash. This will grow.

Producing what humanity needs while preserving the environment now and for the long term can only be done by taking economic power from the bourgeoisie .... The governments’ prime directive is to protect the interests of the capitalists. None of their fine-sounding resolutions will curb pollution.