NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


November 14, 2006

Special effects explosions, idling vehicles, teams of workers building monumental sets - all of it contributes to Hollywood's newly discovered role as an air polluter, a university study has found.

According to a two-year study released by the University of California, Los Angeles:

  • The film and television industry and associated activities make a larger contribution to air pollution in the five-county Los Angeles region than almost all five other sectors researched.
  • Overall, the emissions created directly and indirectly by the film and television industry created more pollution than individually produced by aerospace manufacturing, apparel, hotels and semiconductor manufacturing.
  • Only the petroleum industry's emissions were higher.

The researchers also found that some studios have recycling programs and green building practices, for example:

  • The makers of the film "The Day After Tomorrow," paid $200,000 to plant trees and for other steps to offset the estimated 10,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions caused by vehicles, generators and other machinery used in production.
  • Production teams for "The Matrix Reloaded," and "The Matrix Revolutions," arranged for 97.5 percent of set materials to be recycled, including some 11,000 tons of concrete, steel and lumber; all the steel was recycled, and 37 truckloads of lumber were reused in housing for low-income families in Mexico.

But this may not be what it seems, says Ted Reiff, president of ReUse People of America.   In the case of the Matrix films, Reiff's deconstruction company estimated $450,000 bid to dismantle and reuse the material was cheaper than the demolition contractor's price, he said.

"They're not green at all except when they're forced to be," Reiff said of the film and television industry.

Source: Naoki Schwartz, "Showbiz causing real-life pollution," Los Angeles Daily News, November 14, 2006.

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