Houston's toxic petrochemical exports
Credit: Louis Vest/Flickr

Opinion: Houston's petrochemical exports fuel Europe's growing plastics crisis

Europe grapples with escalating plastic pollution, driven by petrochemical imports from Texas. A recent report by Amnesty International shows how some of these imported petrochemical products are linked to environmental racism, and calls for more stringent rules to restrict the proliferation of polluting plastics.

Alysha Khambay writes in euobserver.


In short:

  • European shores are increasingly littered with plastic pellets, causing environmental emergencies and threats to marine life.
  • Petrochemicals linked to human rights abuses in Texas are contaminating Europe's plastic supply, with European companies implicated.
  • New EU rules and a potential UN plastics treaty aim to tackle the entire lifecycle of plastics, highlighting the need for global accountability in the industry.

Key quote:

"Combined with a tough new UN plastics treaty, the new EU directive could help turn the tide against plastics in Europe – which can’t come soon enough for the continent’s beaches, bottle-blighted rivers, and all those communities suffering at the hands of the plastics and fossil fuel industries."

— Alysha Khambay, report author and researcher at Amnesty International

Why this matters:

The involvement of European companies in harmful practices abroad shows the potential of stringent international regulations to safeguard health outcomes and mitigate widespread environmental damage. Read more: Texas has more chemical emergencies than any other state and they’re disproportionately affecting Latino communities.

Learn more about the UN plastics treaty talks happening in Ottawa this week.

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