More than 8 million tons of plastic enter the world's oceans every year. Over 300 million tons of plastic is made and used globally each year. The United States should set an example and stop the flow of plastic pollution into our environment. New research covered by The Washington Post this week shows more than 300 billion pieces of tiny plastics have reached the Arctic. We have now contaminated a place considered to be pristine.
Several countries across the globe have recently pledged to reduce plastic pollution: Indonesia will cut marine litter by an astounding 70 percent by 2025; Uruguay has pledged to adopt a nationwide plastic bag fee in 2017; and Costa Rica is amping up education and improving waste management to reduce plastic pollution.
The U.S. also needs to be a pioneer in the fight against plastic pollution by to making a voluntary commitment on plastic reduction at the UN: we should take the first step by placing a 5 cent fee on single-use bags nationwide by 2020.
The UK and Ireland have seen an 80% reduction in plastic and paper bag use as a result of small fee per bag. Washington, D.C. officials found 70% fewer plastic bags in the Anacostia River after adopting a 5c fee on plastic bags in 2009. Plastic bag fees are a proven strategy to reduce plastic use and prevent expensive litter.
The price for plastic and paper bags is already hidden in the cost of groceries. We should be transparent about that cost, and let consumers choose whether to pay that fee. Let’s make the environment great again, and stop the scourge of plastic pollution.
Plastic Pollution Coalition
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