The second part of 2021 McGraw Fellow Beth Gardiner’s project examining the economic and environmental impact of the the oil and gas industry’s expansion into plastic production ran on the digital site YaleEnvironment360.
The piece focuses on the Ohio River Valley, where the growth of fracking has fueled plans to turn the area into a petrochemical and plastics hub, even as global overproduction and public concern over health issues and excess plastic waste have turned many against that vision.
Gardiner’s earlier Fellowship piece looked at a successful legal fight to stop plastics manufacturers along the Gulf Coast from polluting the area with impunity. The courtroom win by local advocates could help curb the dangerous release of industrial microplastics into the ocean, a problem that receives far less attention than the bottles, bags and other forms of consumer waste that are degrading the sea, but which is just as harmful to marine life and the environment. That piece ran on NationalGeographic.com: