I am Judith Enck; I was appointed by President Obama as the EPA Administrator for Region 2, and now I lead the nationwide project, Beyond Plastics, working to end plastic pollution everywhere. AMA
Hi Reddit, Judith Enck here. I'm the President of Beyond Plastics and I teach an environmental policy course, with a focus on public action, as a visiting faculty member at Bennington College.
Plastic is an international environmental and social justice issue. Half of the more than 8 billion tons of plastic manufactured since 1950 was produced in just the past 13 years. The world's richest countries have spent decades shipping their plastic waste overseas, where many of the world's poorest are exploited into picking it - and exposed to toxic trash in the process.
Microplastics - and likely nanoplastics - are now pervasive in our air, water, and soil, with untold consequences for human health and wildlife. A brand-new study showed microplastics on both the mother and fetal side of human placentas.
As plastic is a byproduct of fracking, the US fracking boom and breakneck pace of plastics production go hand-in-hand, with more than 330 new petrochemical facilities completed, in construction, or planned in the US since 2010. These mega-polluters are often sited in poor and BIPOC communities across the country.
Beyond Plastics is a US project building a grassroots movement at every level of society, from local bag bans to the federal Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act, community organizing, education, and connecting the plastic crisis to the climate crisis. AMA about the plastic crisis and organizing to end plastic pollution!
[Edit]: Thanks for the great discussion Reddit! This was my first r/IAmA and I loved doing this. I will definitely come back for another one, perhaps when the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act is reintroduced, but for now I have to get back to work with Beyond Plastics. In the meantime, feel free to contact us here for more info: https://www.beyondplastics.org/contact