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The U.S Interior Department announced that by 2032, it would phase out the sale and use of single-use plastic products in public lands as well as national parks across America.
The government is making an effort to lessen plastic pollution in the country since recycling rates have steadily declined over the years.
The Interior Secretary, Deb Haaland, has already started to lessen the sale and distribution of plastic products by banning them on over 480 million acres of public land. She further announced her intentions to determine more areas for the initiative.
The initiative aims to cut down on 14 million tons of plastic that are disposed of irresponsibly in public areas and ultimately sent into our oceans. Single-use plastics are a major contributor to ocean pollution and have been documented as being among the most common marine debris found on beaches all over this planet. These include plastic containers, straws, cups, bags, and bottles.
The national parks banned plastic water bottles in 2011, reducing 2 million per year. However, under the Trump administration, the ban has been ruled out, which will result to more bottles ending up in landfills every year.
The United States has been a major contributor to the growing amount of plastic waste in our oceans, which is on top of declining recycling rates. Last year, the rate fell to 5%.
Just this year, the Interior Department reported an accumulated 80,000 tons of municipal solid waste.
“The Interior Department has an obligation to play a leading role in reducing the impact of plastic waste on our ecosystems and our climate,” Haaland said to reporters.
“Today’s Order will ensure that the Department’s sustainability plans include bold action on phasing out single-use plastic products as we seek to protect our natural environment and the communities around them,” she added.
Many environmental organizations are cheering this development. The plastics campaign director at Oceana, Christy Leavitt, said that the Interior Department’s project would positively help the environment and protect marine life.
“The Department of Interior’s single-use plastic ban will curb millions of pounds of unnecessary disposable plastic in our national parks and other public lands, where it can end up polluting these special areas,” Leavitt told the media.
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