Today, actor, advocate and Oceana board member Ted Danson testified before the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water, Oceans, and Wildlife in a hearing titled “A Sea of Problems: Impacts of Plastic Pollution on Oceans and Wildlife.” In his testimony, Danson emphasized the need for companies to stop using a material that lasts for centuries to make products that are only used once before being thrown away — and he stressed the importance of policy in implementing this change.
“Companies need to significantly reduce the amount of single-use plastic they are putting onto the market and offer consumers plastic-free choices for their products. Unfortunately, companies aren’t doing enough, and that’s why we need your help,” Danson said. “Policies governing the production and use of single-use plastic are effective, and these policies are becoming more common around the world and across the country.”
Danson praised global efforts — like those of the European Union and Peru — to reduce plastic pollution through policy, as well as U.S. cities, counties and states that have taken initiative in addressing the problem. “Local and state policies move us in the right direction, and ultimately comprehensive U.S. federal action is needed,” Danson said.
An estimated 17.6 billion pounds of plastic enters the ocean every year and never fully goes away, instead breaking up into smaller and smaller pieces that attract harmful pollutants and are eaten by marine life. Plastic production is expected to quadruple between 2014 and 2050, resulting in an inevitable increase in plastic flowing into our oceans.
Not only that, but plastic is also affecting our climate. “If plastic was a country, it would be the planet’s fifth-largest emitter of greenhouse gases,” Danson said. “Studies have shown that plastic contributes to climate change by using fossil fuels and emitting greenhouse gases throughout its life cycle, from production and transportation to waste management.”
Danson urged lawmakers to focus on the one true solution to this global crisis: stopping plastic pollution at the source and limiting the production and use of plastic. “Don’t fall for the false promise of recycling and don’t stoop to incineration,” Danson said. ”We must stop the runaway increase in plastic production and reduce the amount of plastic companies are making and foisting on us, because it will never go away.”
To read Danson’s full written testimony, please visit https://bit.ly/31ST8Zm
To learn more about Oceana’s campaign to stop plastic pollution, please visit usa.oceana.org/plastics
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 200 victories that stop overfishing, habitat destruction, pollution and killing of threatened species like turtles and sharks, Oceana’s campaigns are delivering results. A restored ocean means that one billion people can enjoy a healthy seafood meal, every day, forever. Together, we can save the oceans and help feed the world. Visit www.usa.oceana.org to learn more.