First lady Laura Bush touched on the plastic marine debris issue in remarks yesterday at the Hawaiian Monk Seal Captive Care Project on Midway Atoll. In response to the question, "What can people back home, do you think, do? What can people at home do to help ensure that these animals have a safe habitat?" she replied:
Well, I hope people will study up about the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, about this very important part of our country and the new monument here that protects the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. But I also hope people will take from this that we need to really pay attention to how we recycle plastic, and to pay attention to everything that you consume at home that's plastic, and how you get rid of it, and just make sure it doesn't someday end up here on one of these islands, or on any other coast, or in the stomach of one of these marine animals.Plastic marine debris is prominent in my thoughts right now, after hearing Stephanie Barger's comments at our Plastics News Executive Forum in San Diego earlier this week. Barger, founder of the Costa Mesa, Calif.-based Earth Resource Foundation, urged plastics industry leaders in attendance to take this issue seriously, and I think many took her comments to heart. Seeing Laura Bush echo Stephanie Barger is additional proof that this isn't a fringe issue -- despite what a substantial number of people participating in our current Web poll on the topic seem to believe.