Diane Wilson  @  ChelseaGreen

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Plastic Pellets in Lavaca Bay

Posted on Friday, January 7th, 2011 at 2:49 pm by Diane Wilson

Okay, folks, here's a simple riddle:  What's twice the size of Texas and floating in the ocean?  Answer:  The great Plastic Vortex! Plastic bags, plastic bottles, plastic toys. Plastic plastic!  Sylvia Earle, oceanographer and one of the world's greatest advocates of the sea, said "Far and away the most abundant, troublesome, persistent, deadly debris in the sea is composed of plastic."

Now sitting down here in Calhoun County, twix the bays and the live oak, you might ask yourself what the heck that's got to do with us 'cause  out of sight is out of mind. Right?  It's way out there in the ocean. We don't actually see that Plastic Vortez.  Well, think again.  We've got a giant PVC plant in our midst that's got a problem with controlling  pvc dust and pvc pellets. Just check out the latest OSHA and EPA inspections at Formosa Plastics.  PVC dust was everywhere.  On the workers, in the storm ditches, and all over the unit. There was so much pvc dust at Formosa a few scant months ago that it ignited a fire. Two workers were injured.

Formosa employee bagging PVC resin

And it's not just on site and worrisome to the workers; come high tide you will find plastic pellets easily on the tide line of Lavaca Bay and out on the small islands.  Just check out texasinjuredworkers.org website.  On their photo section is photos taken during an EPA inspection at Formosa Plastics in June 2010: workers wearing bandanas to keep from breathing the vinyl chloride laced pvc dust and pvc pellets in the storm ditches.  There is also a photo of a beach in Lavaca Bay covered in pvc pellets.  A hint of what is making its way into our bays, estuaries, and the Gulf.  It's a violation of Formosa's wastewater permit to have solids escaping into the bay so where's Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and EPA in all this?  Where oh where?

Lavaca Bay

Now, folks, just in case there are those of you out there that think we need to be soft on Formosa, cause after all they are providing jobs while creating havoc, just remember that Formosa Plastics Corporation, the flagship company of Taiwan's Formosa Plastic Group, said Friday (oops, today!) that its unaudited 2010 net profit  was NT$45.96 billion and its unaudited revenue was NT$194.45 billion.  Yep, that's billion dollars.  This company can well afford to protect its workers and stop the plastic waste from killing the bays.

Read the original post on Diane's new blog, CalhounCountyResourceWatch.com.

unreasonablewoman Diane Wilson is the author of An Unreasonable Woman and the forthcoming Diary of an Eco-Outlaw.
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