The New Year has arrived and many of us are figuring out our personal goals to make 2019 the best year yet! We at the Aquarium are making our own resolution: to be part of the solution in the fight for a plastic-free future.
Did you know that over 90 percent of plastic waste never gets recycled? Or that plastic accounts for 92 percent of all marine debris? Sadly, plastic particles have been found in more than 660 marine species from the smallest zooplankton to the largest whales and even in the food we eat!
The problem may seem daunting but the good news is it is not too late. The solution is in our hands and if we each take small steps we can reverse these trends and ensure a healthier ocean and planet. Here are a few ideas for small steps to get started—or to build on the things that you are already doing!
Take the #FirstStep 7-day plastic challenge
As you are considering your own New Year’s resolutions we invite you to take the #FirstStep plastic challenge with members of the Aquarium Conservation Partnership (ACP).
The ACP has launched #FirstStep as part of the In Our Hands campaign which encourages people to reduce their use of disposable plastics. ACP members have already eliminated single-use plastic straws in our aquariums—in Seattle and across the country—and now we invite you to take our 7-day challenge and join the movement.
It’s easy! All you have to do is text OCEANETHIC to 49767 to get started or visit the ACP’s #FirstStep website to join more than 150,000 people and take the pledge.
We use these plastic items for a moment, but they last for generations. They find their way into our lakes, rivers and ocean and can harm our favorite marine animals. If you have already gone strawless you can substitute your own challenge to ditch plastic bags or to purchase foods with less plastic packaging as an alternative.
We hope you will resolve to make a difference and maybe even challenge your friends on social media to help us make a lasting impact for our ocean!
Reusable bags for all of Washington
Many communities across our state have taken the step of eliminating single-use plastic bags in grocery stores and other retail businesses. And many of you have already made the personal step of bringing your own bag when you go shopping. (The ocean thanks you!) The Aquarium knows that if we are going to drive lasting impact for the health of our planet we need to think big! So we have teamed up with a coalition of like-minded organizations in support of new statewide reusable bag legislation to be considered in the upcoming months.
The proposed law builds off 26 existing local ordinances (as of December 2018) that have already banned plastic bags in Washington communities and would implement one consistent policy statewide to promote the use of reusable bags and reduce plastic pollution in our ocean and waterways.
Stay tuned for more updates as we try to move this legislation through Olympia. If you would like to help out feel free to email your legislator or call the toll free legislative hotline at 1-800-562-6000 and ask them to support Senate Bill 5323 and House Bill 1205 to help reduce plastic pollution.
Help us document plastic bags in the wild (where they don’t belong!)
Members of the Seattle Aquarium’s Youth Ocean Advocates program are looking to document plastic bags “in the wild.” (Where they shouldn’t be!) The hope is to have photos from across the state to illustrate the impact of plastic bag pollution on nature and in our communities.
Here’s how you can help:
- Take photos of plastic bag pollution in nature, on the street, or anywhere else they don’t belong.
- Post the pictures on Twitter using the hashtag #PlasticBagFreeWA or email them to plasticbagfreeWA@gmail.com. Be sure to include where you took the photo.
- Share this project with your colleagues, family and friends!
Youth Ocean Advocates will share these photos with the state legislature and express their support for the reusable bag bill.
Thanks again for making a resolution to be part of the solution!