Shedd Champions New Collaboration Among National Colleagues to Tackle Growing Pollution

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local News

Shedd Aquarium is one of 19 accredited aquariums across the United States announcing the joint creation of a new Aquarium Conservation Partnership (ACP) focused on addressing one of the gravest threats facing ocean and freshwater animals – plastic pollution. A founding member of the collaborative, Shedd is now a plastic bag and plastic straw-free facility and is asking the public to join them in the shift away from single-use plastics as part of a nationwide consumer campaign launching today. The Great Lakes are the largest surface freshwater system on the Earth, making up approximately 21 percent of the world’s supply of surface freshwater. Additionally, more than 3,500 species of plants and animals live in the Great Lakes basin.

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local News

Through the national “In Our Hands” campaign, the ACP hopes to empower their 20 million visitors and millions more in their communities to drive a national shift away from single-use plastic and toward innovative alternatives. The campaign includes a website that inspires visitors to make positive everyday behavior changes and raise awareness of the issue. All 19 aquariums are also supporting this shift away from single-use plastic within their own businesses. As of today, all ACP members have eliminated plastic straws and single-use plastic take-away bags in their institutions. According to experts, about 8.8 million tons of plastic enters the ocean each year worldwide – roughly a dump truck full of plastic every minute of every day. In the United States alone, plastic waste averages more than 200 pounds per person each year. If nothing changes, by 2025 the flow of plastic into the ocean is expected to double. But, it’s not just the ocean that’s affected. Plastic pollution in lakes and rivers has been found at levels as high, or higher, than in oceanic gyres that concentrate plastic trash. Some of the coalition partners include:

  • California: Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach; California Academy of Sciences/Steinhart Aquarium in San Francisco; and Monterey Bay Aquarium
  • Connecticut: Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut
  • Florida: The Florida Aquarium in Tampa
  • Louisiana: Audubon Nature Institute/Aquarium of the Americas in New Orleans
  • New York: Wildlife Conservation Society/New York Aquarium in New York City
  • North Carolina: North Carolina Aquariums
  • Washington: Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in Tacoma; and Seattle Aquarium

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