MONTEREY (KCBS) – Nearly 20 aquariums nationwide have pledged to phase out plastic items, such as straws and bottles, in an effort to save the world’s oceans.
The campaign includes the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the Steinhart Aquarium at the California Academy of Sciences.
Monterey is a leader in environmental change. Their successful Seafood Watch program prompted consumers to demand sustainable fish from their grocers.
Now the aquarium is taking on plastic. A dump truck full gets thrown in into the ocean every minute of every day.
“These little bits of plastic in the ocean are like sponges for any toxic chemicals that have gotten out there,” aquarium spokesperson Ken Peterson told KCBS. “So things that are flowing down storm drains or sewers and getting out in the ocean, they concentrate in these little tiny bits of plastic, and that’s getting in the food webs.”
The aquarium is phasing out plastic straws, soda bottles, even gift shop toys wrapped in plastic.
“There are great, sturdy paper straws out there now. There are bamboo straws, you can buy metal or glass ones and carry them with you. I carry bamboo utensils with me, so when I’m in the airport or somewhere else I’m not using the plastic forks and knives,” Peterson said.
The spokesperson added, “Having institutions like Monterey Bay Aquarium, like Cal Academy, Steinhart Aquarium in the Bay Area which is another part of this coalition, very visibly standing up and saying ‘we got to stop this,’ because the impacts are profound.”
Aquariums participating in the coalition are hoping zoos and sports teams will join in the campaign.