Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay

Water and plastic don’t mix. Even the Louisiana Legislature, lover of the petrochemical industry, does not like it in our waterways.

When a container of 48,000 pounds of plastic pellets fell off a docked ship in New Orleans and into the Mississippi River, it took three weeks for the vessel’s owner to hire a company to clean up the pollution. By then, pellets the size of lentils had washed up on riverbanks stretching at least five miles. The ship, called the CMA CGM Bianca, left port three days after the spill. The company was never fined. Rep. Stephanie Hilferty, R-Metairie, told the House Committee on Natural Resources and Environment on Wednesday that House Concurrent Resolution 37 aims to discourage future plastic pollution in state waters. “What we’re really trying to do is contain these spills,” she said.

The committee looking at this problem wants zero discharges of plastic and wants the companies to have a spill plan in place. It came out of committee with no opposition and the environmentalist groups cheered. In fact, volunteers cleaned up the plastic spill that occurred here.

Kristi Trail, executive director of Pontchartrain Conservancy, said the pellets could be eaten by fish and birds and make their way up the food chain. “This is an important step in fixing a problem that will not go away on its own,” she said of the House resolution.

This is part of the reduction in pollution in the Mississippi River following enactment of the Clean Water Act.

House Committee Hard on Plastic
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