Printed from : The Leisure Media Co Ltd

14 Jul 2017


Major US aquariums join forces to eliminate plastic use
BY Tom Anstey

Major US aquariums join forces to eliminate plastic use

A collection of 19 US aquariums have announced plans to phase out plastic use as part of an initiative to protect the world’s oceans.

The ‘In Our Hands’ campaign is a joint initiative of the Aquarium Conservation Partnership (ACP) – a first-of-its kind collaboration of aquariums formed to increase collective impact on ocean and freshwater conservation.

Plastic is a growing problem for the world’s oceans, with 8.8 million tons of plastic entering their waters each year.

The partnership – initially founded by Monterey Bay Aquarium, National Aquarium, and Shedd Aquarium – is making a commitment to eliminate single-use plastic straws and bags in its aquariums, significantly reduce or eliminating single-use plastic beverage bottles by 2020, and provide innovative alternatives to single-use plastic for its visitors.

“The public trusts aquariums to do what’s right for the health of the ocean and for ocean wildlife,” said Julie Packard, executive director of the Monterey Bay Aquarium. “We’re just beginning to understand the full impacts of ocean plastic pollution on ecosystems, marine life and human health. But we already know enough to say that now is the time to act.”

Under the new initiative, participating aquariums will work with suppliers to reduce plastic packaging in gift shops and cafés, while also phasing out plastic straws and no longer providing plastic bags to customers. Changes also include offering products and packaging made of alternative materials, installing water refilling stations, and informing visitors about the reasons behind these changes.

The partnership says it hopes that the collective voice of these aquariums showcasing innovative alternatives to single-use plastic can help increase demand for these products in the broader marketplace.

"As leaders in aquatic conservation, aquariums are expected to walk their talk, and that’s exactly what this partnership is meant to do,” said National Aquarium CEO John Racanelli. “We are uniquely qualified to set an example for others – in reducing our plastic footprint, encouraging sustainable operating practices, and inspiring hope in a public that is hungry to be part of the solution. We’re right where we should be.”

The Aquarium Conservation Partnership is as follows:

Founding members
• Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey
• National Aquarium, Baltimore
• Shedd Aquarium, Chicago

Members
• Aquarium of the Pacific, Long Beach
• Audubon Nature Institute, New Orleans
• California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco
• The Florida Aquarium, Tampa
• Mystic Aquarium, Mystic
• New England Aquarium, Boston
• Newport Aquarium, Newport,
• North Carolina Aquariums in Kure Beach, Pine Knoll and Manteo
• Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium, Omaha
• Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, Tacoma
• Seattle Aquarium, Seattle
• South Carolina Aquarium, Charleston
• Tennessee Aquarium, Chattanooga
• Texas State Aquarium, Corpus Christi
• Virginia Aquarium, Virginia
• Wildlife Conservation Society, New York

The Association of Zoos and Aquariums is an ex-officio member of the ACP, with all ACP member aquariums AZA-accredited.

For more on the In Our Hands initiative, click here.


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