Aquariums Nationwide Commit to Eliminate Disposable Plastics

Nineteen top U.S. aquariums, including the National Aquarium in Baltimore, are launching a nationwide campaign to do away with single-use plastic products.

The new Aquarium Conservation Partnership (ACP) says plastic pollution is one of the gravest threats facing ocean and freshwater animals today.

The "In Our Hands" web campaign will push aquarium visitors to make positive changes in their everyday behavior. And the ACP is pushing businesses to come up with innovative alternatives to throwaway plastics.

The aquariums have also gotten rid of plastic straws and plastic takeaway bags in their own buildings. And they've committed to reduce or eliminate plastic drink bottles by the end of 2020. The ACP wants to be leaders in showcasing alternatives.

“As leaders in aquatic conservation, aquariums are expected to walk their talk, and that’s exactly what this partnership is meant to do,” says National Aquarium CEO John Racanelli. “We are uniquely qualified to set an example for others—in reducing our plastic footprint, encouraging sustainable operating practices, and inspiring hope in a public that is hungry to be part of the solution. We’re right where we should be.”  


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. If nothing changes, by 2025 the flow of plastic into the ocean is expected to double. And plastic pollution levels in lakes and rivers are just as high.

The ACP was first championed by the National Aquarium, Shedd Aquarium in Chicago and the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California.

Beyond sponsoring clean-up events and education programs, many have backed successful efforts to stem the use of plastic shopping bags and plastic microbeads found in personal care products.
 

Megan Viviano