Featured Image Credit: Aquarium Conservation Partnership
Each year, approximately 8.8 million tons of plastic enters the ocean worldwide. It can be equated to a dump truck’s worth (14 tons) of plastic a day, or about 200 pounds per person per year in the United States alone. If nothing about this changes by the year 2025, those amounts are expected to double.
But you might know all of that, already.
Now, there’s a group taking a huge step with a pretty awesome idea of how to put a stop to the growing amount of plastic, before it’s too late.
The Aquarium Conservation Partnership is a group of 19 of the top AZA-accredited public aquariums in the U.S. Their goal is to spread not only further awareness of the sheer amount of plastic engulfing our oceans and threatening the wildlife that lives in them, but also to spark consumer action, and share (as well as create) some success stories.
The major focus for this summer moving forward is the elimination of single-use plastics, with hopes to inspire a “national shift and toward innovative alternatives”. Starting now, all aquariums with an ACP membership will be eliminating plastic straws and single-use plastic bags from all of their shops, and while disposable plastic drinking bottles are on their list, they’re only seeking to reduce or eliminate those in use by December of 2020.
The aquariums you can expect to see less plastic usage from are below:
- Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach
- California Academy of Sciences/Steinhart Aquarium in San Francisco
- Monterey Bay Aquarium
- Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut
- Florida Aquarium in Tampa
- Shedd Aquarium in Chicago
- Newport Aquarium in Kentucky
- Audubon Nature Institute/Aquarium of the Americas in New Orleans
- National Aquarium
- New England Aquarium in Boston
- Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium in Nebraska
- Wildlife Conservation Society/New York Aquarium in New York City
- North Carolina Aquariums
- South Carolina Aquarium in Charleston
- Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga
- Texas State Aquarium in Corpus Christi
- Virginia Aquarium in Virginia Beach
- Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium in Tacoma
- Seattle Aquarium
You may be hearing more about this issue from each of these aquariums, as the ACP is expected to speak out from their communities to the national level to reduce plastic pollution not only in our oceans, but also in lakes and rivers.
“By using our voice with visitors our and in our communities, our collective buying power and our relationships with our vendors, we can make a big difference on a pressing issue that threatens the health of wildlife in the ocean, lakes, and rivers,” said Margo McKnight, senior vice president of conservation, research & husbandry from The Florida Aquarium.
In addition to what these aquariums are doing currently, they have also done plenty in the past to help save aquatic environments from further pollution; such as clean-up events, education programs, and many successful endeavors to stop the use of plastic shopping bags and plastic micro-beads in personal care products.
“The solution to plastic pollution is in our hands,” McKnight also shared, and the ability to aid the reduction of plastic use and set an example doesn’t only ring true for large aquariums— but for everyone.