Youth activists protest plastic industry | Earth Day Network

By Brandon Pytel

Strike for Climate Justice. Honk for Climate Action. Don’t Be a Fossil Fool.

On Friday, youth climate activists held signs with these messages in front of the Plastic Industry Association in Washington, D.C.

“We’re here today because we believe in the power of society to change,” said Sophia Geiger, 16, member of the youth climate strike movement Fridays for Future. “We should be able to live in an environment where we don’t need to use plastics. There are alternatives and we want to see those alternatives in our society.”

youth protesters holding signs and marching

Youth climate activists hold signs protesting the plastic industry en route to The Coca-Cola Company’s D.C. offices. Photo credit: Inma Galvez-Shorts/EDN

Young people from D.C. Youth Climate Strike and Extinction Rebellion joined the event, which was coordinated by Fridays for Future USA.

About 300 million tons of plastic are produced each year, but only 10 percent of that plastic is properly recycled and reused — the rest ends up in landfills or oceans, killing wildlife and harming ecosystems.

Instead of biodegrading into our natural environment, plastics slowly degrade into microplastics — bits of plastic 5 millimeters and smaller — that many animals and humans inadvertently eat, drink and inhale. A study last month found that the average person may be ingesting as much as 5 grams of microplastics, the weight of a credit card, every week.

“Once we all unite against the plastic industry, we will be able to end the vicious cycle that is not only harming the environment, the animals, the waters, the fishes, but also our children, grandchildren and even us,” said Serena Moscarella, 17, leader of D.C. Climate Strike.

After protesting outside the Plastic Industry Association, the protesters marched to The Coca-Cola Company’s D.C. office. Coca-Cola produces 3 million tons of plastics a year, or about 200,000 bottles per minute.

Earth Day Network is mobilizing key actors across the globe to increase understanding about plastics pollution. Make a pledge to reduce your use of plastic and join the campaign to End Plastic Pollution.

girl holds umbrella made of plastic

Kallan Benson, 15, of Fridays for Future USA holds an umbrella made of plastic bags to protest the plastic industry. Photo credit: Suzi XI Liu/EDN

youth protest on sidewalk

Youth protest outside of the Plastic Industry Association. Photo credit: Inma Galvez-Shorts/EDN