Target: Acting Commissioner Dr. Stephen Ostroff, Food and Drug Administration
Goal: Enforce more stringent requirements to prevent plastic pollution.
Over five trillion pieces of plastic are currently floating in the world’s oceans. Worldwide plastic consumption in 2015 is projected to be 297.5 million tons. Greenpeace states that at least 297 different animal species have been known to suffer from entanglement or ingestion of plastic debris. Plastic debris annually kills 100,000 marine animals as well as millions of birds and fish. The volume of plastic in the oceans is likely to increase due to the rising production of throwaway plastic and the fact that only five percent of the world’s plastic is currently recycled.
In addition to being toxic, plastic is non-biodegradable. Plastic debris can be found in the waters and on the beaches of Europe, the Americas, Africa, Australia, and Antarctica. Much of this plastic has accumulated in five large ocean gyres – circular currents that churn up plastics. The largest gyre is known as the “great Pacific garbage patch” and covers an area equivalent to the state of Texas.
Marine life, such as seabirds, whales, and turtles, are swallowing plastic pollution and dying from choking, intestinal blockage, and starvation. Tiny pieces of plastic are ingested by marine animals in the form of seawater that is filled with toxic waste from plastic decomposition. Following the food chain, humans will consume some of these fish that have ingested the waste and toxic byproducts.
Approximately 80 percent of marine debris comes from trash, debris from ports and marinas, industrial facilities, and trash blown out of garbage containers, trucks, and landfills. The remaining 20 percent comes from overboard discharges from ships and discarded fishing gear.
The majority of the plastic waste consists of food and drink packaging. The plastics industry spends millions of dollars annually to convince policy makers that the best solution to reducing plastic pollution is an anti-litter campaign, putting the responsibility for marine debris on consumers, not producers of plastic waste. They also promote policies that support increased use of plastics.
Plastic pollution carries huge costs to communities who must clean up their beaches or risk losing tourism dollars. Globally, individuals need to be sure to recycle and never litter. Producers of single-use plastic packaging need to design packaging that is fully recyclable. If plastic producers fail to reduce plastic waste, they need to be held financially responsible for cleaning their waste products from our oceans.
By signing this petition below, you will urge the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Acting Commissioner Dr. Stephen Ostroff to require the plastics industry to develop fully recyclable plastic packaging and hold the producers financially responsible for cleaning the waste already polluting the oceans.
Dear Dr. Ostroff,
Over five trillion pieces of plastic are currently floating in the world’s oceans. The majority of plastic waste comes from single-use food and drink packaging. Almost 80 percent of marine plastic pollution comes from trash, debris from ports and marinas, industrial facilities, and trash blown out of garbage containers, trucks, and landfills.
The plastics industry spends millions of dollars annually to promote increased use of plastics and claim that the best way to reduce plastic pollution is through education and anti-litter campaigns. In addition to designing packaging that is fully recyclable, they need to pay the costs of cleaning their wasteful, plastic products from our polluted oceans.
We only have one Earth and our oceans are limited. We can work together to be responsible citizens and not litter while using fully recyclable plastic packaging. I urge you to pursue policies and regulations to reduce plastic marine pollution and pursue punitive measures for those companies who do not comply. Please save the only planet we have.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Alpha Spirit