New Report Reveals U.S.’s Significant Role in Plastic Pollution Crisis - Oceana USA

New Report Reveals U.S.’s Significant Role in Plastic Pollution Crisis

Oceana Calls for Federal Action to Curb Single-Use Plastics Polluting Our Oceans

Press Release Date: December 1, 2021

Location: Washington, DC


Melissa Valliant, Dustin Cranor, APR | email:, | tel: 410.829.0726 (cell), 954.348.1314

WASHINGTON — Today, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine released a report detailing the United States’ role in the plastic pollution crisis. The report, titled “Reckoning with the U.S. Role in Global Ocean Plastic Waste,” reveals the U.S.’s contributions to global ocean plastic waste, uncovers the prevalence of marine plastic in U.S. waterways, and examines the import and export of plastic waste to and from the United States.

The analysis also recommended “interventions,” or actions, to combat the plastic pollution that’s increasingly entering our oceans. The first three of these interventions presented a common theme: reducing the production and use of unnecessary plastic and shifting to reusable alternatives.

In response to today’s announcement, Oceana released the following statement from plastics campaign director Christy Leavitt:

“The finger-pointing stops now. We can no longer ignore the United States’ role in the plastic pollution crisis, one of the biggest environmental threats facing our oceans and our planet today. This report shows that much of the plastic waste that threatens critical ecosystems, wildlife, and human health around the globe originates here in the U.S., and our country’s leaders have a responsibility to change that. A national solution is already mapped out, thanks to the introduction of the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act earlier this year. Now it’s time for members of Congress to pass it so we can stop wasting time with inadequate solutions and finally tackle the plastics problem with the comprehensive approach and source reduction it requires.”

There isn’t a place on Earth untouched by plastic. Plastic has now been found everywhere, including in the most unexpected places: Arctic sea ice, the Mariana Trench, air in the remotest of mountains, rain in our national parks, and our food, including honey, salt, water and beer. Scientists are still studying what all this means for human health. With plastic production growing at a rapid rate, increasing amounts of plastic can be expected to flood our blue planet with devastating consequences.

For more information about Oceana’s campaign to end the plastics problem, please visit

Oceana is the largest international advocacy organization dedicated solely to ocean conservation. Oceana is rebuilding abundant and biodiverse oceans by winning science-based policies in countries that control one-third of the world’s wild fish catch. With more than 225 victories that stop overfishing, habitat destruction, pollution, and the killing of threatened species like turtles and sharks, Oceana’s campaigns are delivering results. A restored ocean means that 1 billion people can enjoy a healthy seafood meal, every day, forever. Together, we can save the oceans and help feed the world. Visit to learn more.