(April 13, 2009) — This year's report on the Ocean Conservancy's International Coastal Clean Up is an important reminder of how much work remains to keep trash out of our oceans [Report: Marine debris problem can be solved, March 23, Page 22].
As the report notes, people have created the problem, and we all must take responsibility:
Ending marine debris requires everyone's participation. More corporations and private citizens have joined government, foundations, and non-governmental organizations in the environmental arena and helped shape change as never before. We must find every opportunity to pull all stakeholders into solution scenarios.
For our part, plastic makers:
* Helped create the plastics recycling infrastructure.
* Promoted industrywide practices to contain plastic pellets (Operation Clean Sweep).
* Partnered with California State Parks and nonprofit group Keep California Beautiful to encourage recycling and discourage litter along the state's coast.
* Worked to educate children on the link between our litter and marine health by sponsoring a permanent marine debris exhibit at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, Calif.
* Worked with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to advance scientific understanding of plastic marine debris.
* Launched a dialogue with global industry counterparts to coordinate strategies to address litter and promote recycling.
* Sponsored a workshop that brought together experts from government, [non-governmental organizations] and academics, which resulted in recommendations for partnerships to increase recycling and anti-litter education.
* Continue to put our incredible innovative capacity to work to develop smaller, lighter packaging.
* Pursue public-private partnerships to address litter and enhance recycling efforts.
We also agree there's more to be done.
Plastic bottles and packaging no matter how light don't belong in the ocean; they belong in the recycling bin. This requires leadership from committed partners and participation from every citizen not only here, but across the world to reduce, reuse and recycle plastics, instead of carelessly tossing or wasting this valuable material.
American Chemistry Council