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California subpoenas Exxon for particulars on position in plastic air pollution

A emblem of the Exxon Mobil Corp is seen on the Rio Oil and Gasoline Expo and Convention in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil September 24, 2018.

Sergio Moraes | Reuters

California’s lawyer normal on Thursday announced an investigation into the fossil gasoline and petrochemical industries for allegedly overstating the position of recycling in curbing world plastic air pollution and exacerbating the disaster.

Lawyer Gen. Rob Bonta mentioned his workplace has subpoenaed Exxon Mobil for info regarding the corporate’s alleged position in deceiving the general public and worsening plastics air pollution. The workplace did not specify what different firms it was investigating. Exxon didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

As state legislatures and native governments within the Nineteen Eighties started contemplating payments proscribing or banning plastic merchandise, fossil gasoline and petrochemical firms started an “aggressive” and “misleading” marketing campaign to steer the general public that they might mitigate the waste downside by recycling, which the business knew wasn’t true, Bonta alleged in a information launch.

“For greater than half a century, the plastics business has engaged in an aggressive marketing campaign to deceive the general public, perpetuating a fantasy that recycling can clear up the plastics disaster,” Bonta mentioned. “The reality is: The overwhelming majority of plastic can’t be recycled.”

“This primary-of-its-kind investigation will study the fossil gasoline business’s position in creating and exacerbating the plastics air pollution disaster – and what legal guidelines, if any, have been damaged within the course of,” Bonta mentioned.

The world produces about 400 million tons of plastic waste every year, in accordance with estimates from the United Nations. Plastics take lots of of years to decompose, and the vast majority of plastics find yourself sitting in landfills or the ocean. The U.S. solely recycles about 9% of its plastic, according to the Environmental Safety Company.

Plastics are additionally set to drive practically half of oil demand development by mid-century, in accordance with the International Energy Agency. Fossil gasoline and petrochemical firms just lately invested greater than $200 billion to expand plastic production worldwide.

Environmental activist teams on Thursday applauded the state’s investigation of the fossil gasoline business.

“For too lengthy, ExxonMobil and different company polluters have been allowed to mislead the general public and hurt folks and the planet,” mentioned Graham Forbes, plastics world marketing campaign lead at Greenpeace USA. “The science has change into crystal clear that we should transfer away from fossil fuels and throwaway plastic.”

— CNBC’s Katie Brigham contributed reporting

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