Texas State Aquarium Joins Forces with European Commission, World Aquariums to Fight Plastic Pollution

November 2, 2018

CORPUS CHRISTI, TX – The Texas State Aquarium (TSA) is among a coalition of aquariums partnering with The European Commission, the United Nations Environment Program and other international partners on a new global initiative to fight plastic pollution. So far, more than 160 aquariums from 33 countries have already pledged support to the new coalition, "World aquariums #ReadyToChange to #BeatPlasticPollution."

TSA, which has eliminated most single-use plastic from its operations, including plastic straws, bottles and bags – will use its unique and science-based influence to raise public awareness about plastic pollution and promote eco-friendly alternatives to single-use plastic. As part of the coalition, TSA will do its part by engaging with potential partners, such as sponsors and NGOs, to promote best practices in the use of plastic on a local, regional national and global scale.

This campaign announcement follows the overwhelming vote in the European Parliament last week on the Commission’s proposal to ban certain single-use plastics by 2021 amid growing global concern over the harmful effects of plastic pollution.  Scientists and conservationists are warning that huge quantities of plastic waste are polluting the seas and coastlines and threatening most marine species. While cleaning up plastic pollution is important, eexpertssay it is urgent to change the public’s production and consumption habits in order to avoid plastic entering the environment in the first place.

The coalition is not the only partnership the Texas State Aquarium is taking part in to try and stem the tide of plastic pollution. TSA is also part of the “Aquarium Conservation Partnership,” where aquariums around the nation are collectively encouraging the public to take the “first step” of ditching plastic straws. This new global coalition, however, represents a groundbreaking international effort to combat plastic pollution – an issue that’s not exclusive to just one country or region.

“We’re honored to be part of this global initiative to tackle the problem of plastic pollution,” said Leslie Peart, the Aquarium’s Vice President of Education and Conservation. “Protecting our oceans and its marine life from plastic pollution is an issue that transcends borders and affects everyone around the world, so it’s encouraging to see an international effort to face this problem head-on. As the largest aquarium in Texas, we’ve already nearly eliminated our single-use plastic footprint, and we’re committed to doing everything we can to raise awareness and inspire others to make a similar change to help beat plastic pollution.”

EU Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella said aquariums like TSA can be powerful influencers to help change minds and behaviors surrounding about plastic pollution. “Aquariums are a window to our ocean,” said Vella. “With their collections and their educational programs, they show us what we need to protect, and they inspire the ocean lovers of tomorrow. Millions of people visit aquariums around the world every year. This will mobilize them to rethink the way we use plastic.”

The global coalition of international aquariums will be coordinated by the European Commission, together with the United Nations Environment Program and with the support of the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco, the European Union of Aquarium Curators, the World Association of Zoos & Aquariums, the U.S. Aquarium Conservation Partnership and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO.

To learn more about this global intiative, read the EU’s full press release at: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-18-6203_en.htm.

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